Persons Not in the Labour Force

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    NAME OF ORGANISATION
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    OVERVIEW

    The Persons Not in the Labour Force (PNILF) survey was first conducted in November 1975 and then in May 1977. The survey has been conducted annually since 1989. The survey collects information about persons who are neither employed nor unemployed.

    PURPOSE

    Data from this survey are used to measure potential labour not reflected in employment and unemployment statistics, and in particular to measure the number and characteristics of discouraged job seekers and others marginally attached to the labour force. The policy context for the data includes labour market programs for the jobless, income support programs, retirement policies, and child care policies.

    SCOPE

    This survey is conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey, which comprises the Labour Force Survey and, in most months, a supplementary survey topic.

    SCOPE -- Labour Force Survey

    The Labour Force Survey includes all usual residents of Australia1 aged 15 and over except:

    • members of the permanent defence forces;
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations;
    • overseas residents in Australia; and
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

    From July 1993 Jervis Bay Territory is also excluded from the scope of the survey. Before July 1993 it was included in estimates for the Australian Capital Territory.

    SCOPE -- Labour Force Supplementary Surveys

    In addition to those already excluded from the Labour Force Survey, the following persons are excluded from most supplementary surveys:

    • persons living in private dwellings in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia;
    • institutionalised persons; and
    • boarding school pupils.

    SCOPE - Persons Not In The Labour Force Survey

    Prior to September 2005 the scope of this survey was restricted to persons aged 15--69 years. From September 2005 on persons aged 15 years and over are included.

    The standard scope restrictions for supplementary surveys (see above) also apply to this survey

    COVERAGE - Labour Force Survey

    Coverage rules are applied to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible. Persons who are away from their usual residence for six weeks or less at the time of interview are enumerated at their usual residence (relevant information may be obtained from other usual residents present at the time of the survey).

    DATA DETAIL

    Conceptual framework

    The conceptual framework used in Australia's Labour Force Survey aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia's labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (Cat. no. 6102.0).

    The labour force framework classifies the civilian population into three mutually exclusive groups: employed; unemployed; and not in the labour force. The employed and unemployed categories together make up the labour force. The third category (i.e. the residual) represents persons not in the labour force.

    In this survey, the main populations of interest are persons not in the labour force, persons marginally attached to the labour force, and discouraged job seekers.

    Persons who are marginally attached may satisfy some, but not all, of the criteria required to be classified as unemployed. Persons not in the labour force are considered to be marginally attached to the labour force if they:

    • want to work and are actively looking for work but not available to start work in the reference week; or
    • want to work and are not actively looking for work but are available to start work within four weeks, or could start work within four weeks if child care was available.

    Discouraged jobseekers are persons with marginal attachment to the labour force who wanted to work and were available to start work within the next four weeks but whose main reason for not actively looking for work was that they believed they would not find a job for any of the following reasons:
    • considered to be too young/too old by employers;
    • lacked necessary schooling, training, skills or experience; or
    • difficulties because of language or ethnic background; or
    • no jobs in their locality or line of work; or
    • no jobs available at all.

    Main outputs

    Data from the survey are published in Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (Cat. no. 6220.0). More detailed estimates are available on request.

    Data from the survey relate to persons aged 15-69. The main populations of interest are persons not in the labour force, persons marginally attached to the labour force, and discouraged job seekers. Estimates are produced on an original basis only (i.e. not seasonally adjusted) and include:

      Socio-demographic information
    Sex, age, marital status, household/family relationship, State or Territory of usual residence, birthplace, year of arrival in Australia, number of children and age of youngest child.
    .
      Persons not in the labour force
    Whether want to work and type of work preferred; whether looked for work in last 12 months; main activity when not in the labour force; for persons who have previously had a job, time since last job, and reason for ceasing; for persons who have held a job in the last 20 years, details of the job including occupation, status in employment, and full-time or part-time status; intention to enter the labour force; and main source of income.
    .
      Persons marginally attached to the labour force
    Details of whether actively looking for work and whether available for work; for persons not actively looking for work, all and main reason(s) not actively looking for work; for persons not available to start work within four weeks, main reason not available; and for persons not actively looking for work or available to start work within four weeks for childcare reasons, age of youngest child and number of children.
      Discouraged jobseekers
    Details of whether looked for work in the last 12 months; intention to enter the labour force; and time since last job

    Classifications

    Demographics: Sex, age, marital status, household/family relationship, State or Territory of usual residence, birthplace, year of arrival in Australia, number of children and age of youngest child.

    Country of Birth: Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (cat. no. 1269.0)

    Occupation: ANZSCO Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0)

    Other concepts (summary)

    Data collected in the survey are compiled according to concepts and definitions outlined in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2001 (cat. no. 6102.0).

    GEOGRAPHIC DETAIL
    Australia
    New South Wales
    Victoria
    Queensland
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Tasmania
    Northern Territory
    ACT
    Part of State Metropolitan
    Part of State Extra-Metropolitan

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    Not all data available for all areas.

    COLLECTION FREQUENCY
    Annually

    Frequency comments

    First conducted in November 1975.

    COLLECTION HISTORY

    Over the time the survey has been conducted there have been some changes to the collection frequency and timing, and publication format.

    1975Initial survey conducted (November) - preliminary data published in Persons Not In the Labour Force, Preliminary (Ref. no. 6.54) and final data in Persons Not In the Labour Force (Ref. no. 6.59).
    1977Survey conducted May. Catalogue numbers replaced reference numbers - Cat. no. 6219.0 (preliminary data) and Cat. no. 6220.0 (final data).
    1979Biannual collection commenced (March & September)
    1980Preliminary publication discontinued.
    1989Annual collection commenced (September)
    1990Publication reissued due to problems with processing
    1994Standard Data Service replaced publication format (Cat no. changed to 6220.0.40.001)
    1996Publication format replaced Standard Data Service (Cat. no. changed to 6220.0)



    DATA AVAILABILITY
    Yes

    Data availability comments

    Publication Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6220.0)

    The ABS also has a range of data available on request.


    DATE OF LAST UPDATE FOR THIS DOCUMENT
    07/07/2011 04:46 PM