6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Feb 2020 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/03/2020   
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FEBRUARY KEY FIGURES


Jan 20
Feb 20
Jan 20 to Feb 20
Feb 19 to Feb 20

Trend
Employed people ('000)
12,989.0
13,010.2
21.1
1.9%
Unemployed people ('000)
700.2
698.9
-1.3
3.0%
Unemployment rate (%)
5.1
5.1
0.0 pts
0.0 pts
Underemployment rate (%)
8.6
8.6
0.0 pts
0.3 pts
Participation rate (%)
66.0
66.0
0.0 pts
0.3 pts
Monthly hours worked in all jobs ('000 000)
1,780.0
1,779.3
-0.7
0.8%

Seasonally Adjusted
Employed people ('000)
12,988.4
13,015.1
26.7
2.0%
Unemployed people ('000)
725.5
699.1
-26.4
5.0%
Unemployment rate (%)
5.3
5.1
-0.2 pts
0.1 pts
Underemployment rate (%)
8.6
8.6
0.0 pts
0.6 pts
Participation rate (%)
66.1
66.0
-0.1 pts
0.4 pts
Monthly hours worked in all jobs ('000 000)
1,778.4
1,775.4
-3.0
0.5%


EMPLOYED PEOPLE
Graph shows, in both trend and seasonally adjusted terms, the monthly uptick in the Employed People increasing steadily from approximately 11,600,000 people in February 2015 to approximately 13,000,000 people in February 2020.


UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Graph shows, in both trend and seasonally adjusted terms, the general downturn in the Unemployment Rate from 6.2 per cent in February 2015 to as low as 5.0 per cent in December 2018. In February 2020 the unemployment rate is at 5.1 per cent.


TREND ESTIMATES

  • Employment increased 21,100 to 13,010,200 persons. Full-time employment increased 13,300 to 8,885,600 persons and part-time employment increased 7,800 to 4,124,500 persons.
  • Unemployment decreased 1,300 to 698,900 persons.
  • Unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1%.
  • Participation rate remained steady at 66.0%.
  • Monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 0.7 million hours to 1,779.3 million hours.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

  • Employment increased 26,700 to 13,015,100 persons. Full-time employment increased 6,700 to 8,884,600 persons and part-time employment increased 20,000 to 4,130,600 persons.
  • Unemployment decreased 26,400 to 699,100 persons.
  • Unemployment rate decreased 0.2 pts to 5.1%.
  • Participation rate decreased 0.1 pts to 66.0%.
  • Monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 3.0 million hours to 1,775.4 million hours.


LABOUR UNDERUTILISATION

  • The monthly trend underemployment rate remained steady at 8.6%. The monthly underutilisation rate remained steady at 13.7%.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted underemployment rate remained steady at 8.6%. The monthly underutilisation rate decreased 0.2 pts to 13.7%.


NOTES

FORTHCOMING ISSUES

IssueRelease Date
March 202016 April 2020
April 202014 May 2020
May 202018 June 2020
June 202016 July 2020
July 202013 August 2020
August 202017 September 2020


MANAGING THE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ON LABOUR FORCE STATISTICS

The ABS is currently monitoring for potential impacts from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Labour Force statistics and will continue to do so for the period of the pandemic.

Quality assurance of data for February did not identify any notable impact to headline statistics. It is important to note that the reference weeks for February fell in the first half of the month, at a point where there was only a relatively low number of confirmed COVID-19 cases within Australia and before it was declared a global pandemic.

As with other major disruption to the economy, early impacts are usually most evident in the Monthly hours worked in all jobs series (Spreadsheet 19) in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). Additional information, such as the reason people worked fewer hours than usual, is available within Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001), due for release on 26 March.

The ABS intends to profile some of the information on the reason people worked fewer hours than usual, which can be found in pivot tables EM2a and EM2b, on 26 March. The ABS will include additional advice in that summary, noting that some caution needs to be exercised when using original data at more disaggregated levels, as they are subject to larger sampling variability and seasonal patterns.

The ABS will also be actively managing the potential risks from COVID-19 to data collection operations. Around 90% of responses to the Labour Force Survey are provided through telephone interviews or online, leaving around 10% involving face-to-face interviews. Respondents in the survey may note changes in how the ABS contacts or approaches them over the coming months, and acknowledges the tremendous support that the Australia community is continuing to provide in supporting high quality and critically important Labour Force statistics.

On 18 March, the ABS also released some interactive employment maps based on the most recent data from Jobs in Australia (cat. no 6160.0), which is based on summary administrative data, to support a regional assessment of potential impacts of COVID-19 on employment.

MANAGING THE IMPACT OF THE BUSHFIRES ON LABOUR FORCE STATISTICS

Bushfires resulted in disruption to ABS data collection operations in some regions in New South Wales and Victoria during January 2020. A few areas in New South Wales, particularly within the ‘Capital Region’, were also unable to be surveyed in February 2020. These areas amounted to around half the sample which was unable to be surveyed in January 2020 in the state.

As with January data, the ABS confirmed that the disruption from the bushfires did not have a notable impact on key headline statistics and that no additional statistical interventions were required.
Region level data for the New South Wales regions of the ‘Capital Region’, ‘Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven’ and ‘Mid North Coast’ for January 2020 will not be published in the February 2020 Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) on 26 March. February 2020 estimates for the ‘Capital Region’ will also not be published.

The ABS expects to resume publishing these estimates with the release of March 2020 data (in April). January 2020 data for 'Latrobe - Gippsland', in Victoria, will be available with the February release.

MANAGING THE IMPACT OF THE TOWNSVILLE FLOODS IN FEBRUARY 2019

Flooding in Townsville in February 2019 resulted in a major disruption to the operation of the Labour Force Survey. Given the severity of these disruptions, which affected almost the entire region, and to ensure that this loss of sample did not affect data for Australia and Queensland, the ABS imputed sample for Townsville for February 2019. The imputation drew upon previous information that had recently been collected from people in Townsville.

The ABS re-assessed this imputation and has not revised the imputed data. However, users of the Townsville data, and totals for ‘Rest of Queensland’ data, should still exercise some extra caution when looking at yearly and monthly movements in February 2020.

CHANGES IN FUTURE ISSUES - NEW ABS WEBSITE IN 2020

The ABS will be launching a new website in 2020. You will soon be able to see how this release and other labour statistics will appear on the new website by exploring our Beta site. Regular users of this information are encouraged to explore the Beta site and consider any implications for the way you access and consume ABS data and information. If you would like more information on the new ABS website, or want to discuss how the transition to the new site might impact you, please email newABSwebsite@abs.gov.au

As part of the move to a new ABS website, we've also been exploring new ways to deliver labour statistics, including developing prototypes for:
We welcome any feedback on these Key labour market indicator and Labour Force prototypes. Feedback can be provided via the 'Leave feedback' button at the end of the page, or by emailing us directly at labour.statistics@abs.gov.au.

QUARTERLY POPULATION REBENCHMARKING

The ABS has revised the original Labour Force series for the previous 19 months to reflect the latest available preliminary and final estimates of Estimated Resident Population. This quarterly process ensures that the Labour Force series promptly reflects any change in population trends and minimises the size of revisions that can occur when the series are rebenchmarked following each Census of Population and Housing. It is expected that, on most occasions, the quarterly revisions will not be significant.

For further information about rebenchmarking, refer to the Rebenchmarking Labour Force Estimates article published in the February 2015 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

ROUNDING
Estimates of changes in the commentary have been calculated using un-rounded estimates, and may be different from, but are more accurate than, movement obtained from the rounded estimates. Graphs also depict un-rounded estimates.

SAMPLING ERROR
The estimates in this publication are based on a sample survey. Published estimates and movements are subject to sampling variability. Standard errors give a measure of sampling variability. The interval bounded by two standard errors is the 95% confidence interval, which provides a way of looking at the variability inherent in estimates. There is a 95% chance that the true value of the estimate lies within that interval.

MOVEMENTS IN SEASONALLY ADJUSTED SERIES BETWEEN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2020

Monthly change
95% Confidence interval

Total Employment
26 700
-34 900 to 88 300
Total Unemployment
-26 400
-65 200 to 12 400
Unemployment rate
-0.2 pts
-0.4 pts to 0.0 pts
Participation rate
-0.1 pts
-0.5 pts to 0.3 pts



INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, email client.services@abs.gov.au or contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.