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The purpose of the monthly LFS is to provide timely information on the labour market activity of the usually resident civilian population of Australia aged 15 and over. The statistics of most interest each month are the estimates of the number of employed and unemployed people, the unemployment rate and the labour force participation rate. The rate of change in the number of people employed is a key indicator of the pace of economic growth. The unemployment rate (the percentage of the labour force represented by the unemployed) is the main measure of unutilised labour, and the participation rate (the percentage of the population in the labour force) reflects changes in total labour availability.
While the LFS is designed primarily to produce reliable estimates at the national, State and Territory levels, it also delivers estimates for a number of regions within States. There are 77 such regions across Australia.
The regions used for the publication of labour force statistics are based on standard geographical regions and are mostly identical in terms of spatial definitions with the Statistical Regions of Statistical Geography:
Volatility of Estimates
As with national and State estimates, regional labour force estimates are subject to sampling error. Unlike State level data, regional estimates are not constrained to conform to independently estimated population totals, and thus can be more volatile. Since estimates for regions are components of corresponding estimates at the State level - and are thus based on considerably smaller samples - they are subject to higher relative standard errors. Care should therefore be taken in the interpretation of regional estimates. Tables of standard errors for each region are available from ABS offices.
Review of Regions
A review of dissemination regions for labour force data was conducted during 1996. As a result, the boundaries for many regions have been changed to maintain consistency with the ASGC, and three new regions have been created in response to user requirements. The implementation of these changes will occur for the September 1997 survey, to coincide with the first month of the introduction of a new sample for the LFS. Data for the new regions will be released from October 1997. Details of the new sample, and the sample design and methodology of the survey, are given in Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design (Cat. no. 6269.0).
Breaks in Series
As detailed above, regional labour force statistics are subject to significant volatility. Moreover, regional statistics are especially vulnerable at the time of reselection of the LFS sample, as the new sample selected to represent each region may have different characteristics to the old sample. Consequently, it can be expected that some regional series may suffer quite noticeable disturbances during the period September 1997 to April 1998, when the new LFS sample will be gradually implemented. In addition, the boundaries of some regions, especially in Victoria, have changed sufficiently for a possible break in series to occur. These breaks may occur because the total population of the region is significantly different, or because the region's character has changed markedly. Thus, regional estimates from September 1997 onwards may not be comparable with those before September 1997.
Changes to dissemination regions for labour force data are detailed on the following pages. Minor changes to regions that have involved little or no population have been excluded, as these are not expected to affect labour force estimates or series. Changes to existing regions have been given in terms of comparison with the region's previous composition of Statistical Local Areas (SLAs). For existing regions that have changed significantly, estimates of the net change to the size of the region's labour force (that is, employed and unemployed people) have also been provided. These estimates have been calculated by matching the old and new dissemination regions, using population counts from the 1996 Census of Population and Housing, and applying a national labour force participation rate of 63%.
CHANGES TO REGIONS
New South Wales
Estimates for the Statistical Region (SR) of Blacktown-Baulkham Hills will no longer be produced separately. Instead, Blacktown will be merged with Outer Western Sydney, and Baulkham Hills with Hornsby-Ku-ring-gai. This change is in response to user demand arising from the fact that Blacktown and Baulkham Hills have markedly different socio-economic characteristics.
Another change has been made to accommodate changes in sample design. Prior to September 1997, the Far West Statistical Division was excluded from the region comprising Northern, Far West-North Western and Central West SRs. From September 1997 onwards, the Far West SD will be included in this region. (Data for the region excluding Broken Hill will be available on request.) This inclusion of the Far West SD is expected to result in a net increase in the region's labour force of 12,000.
Also, in response to user demand, data for the South Eastern (NSW) SR combined with the Australian Capital Territory SR has recently been made available. This data is currently published in Labour Force, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (Cat. no. 6201.1).
A review of local government boundaries in Victoria resulted in the amalgamation of Local Government Areas (LGAs), which took effect from July 1995. This has involved some significant changes to SLAs and labour force dissemination regions. Many SLAs have completely or partly transferred from one dissemination region to another. Major changes to the SLA composition of regions are given below, with expected net changes to the population in the labour force in brackets:
An additional dissemination region has become available for the Gold Coast - Gold Coast City (Parts A and B) SR Sectors. This new region is formed from parts of the South and East BSD Balance SR and parts of the South and East Moreton SR. The latter regions have not changed and data will continue to be available for them.
The Brisbane City Outer Ring SR has been enlarged to include part of Carole Park, formerly of North and West BSD Balance SR. Consequently, estimates of the labour force in these regions are expected to change by 1,000.
Perth (C) - South has been transferred from the Central Metropolitan SR to the South East Metropolitan SR. Accordingly, the estimate of the population in the labour force in each region is likely to change by 13,000.
The majority of SLAs in Tasmania have changed as a result of a major reorganisation of LGAs, which took effect from April 1993. However, only one dissemination region has been affected. This region, Greater Hobart SD, now also includes parts of Brighton (M) - Pt B, New Norfolk (M) - Pt B, Richmond (M) - Pt B, and Sorrell (M) - Pt B. It is expected that this will result in a net increase in the region's labour force population of 3,000.
The regions for which labour force data will be available from September 1997 are as follows:
New South Wales:
Sydney Major Statistical Region
- Inner Sydney and Inner Western Sydney Statistical Regions
- Inner Sydney Statistical Region
- Eastern Suburbs Statistical Region
- St George-Sutherland Statistical Region
- Canterbury-Bankstown Statistical Region
- Fairfield-Liverpool and Outer South Western Sydney Statistical Regions
- Fairfield-Liverpool Statistical Region
- Central Western Sydney Statistical Region
- Outer Western Sydney Statistical Region and Blacktown (C)
- Lower Northern Sydney Statistical Region
- Hornsby-Ku-ring-gai Statistical Region and Baulkham Hills (A)
- Northern Beaches Statistical Region
- Gosford-Wyong Statistical Region
Balance of New South Wales Major Statistical Region
- Hunter Statistical Region
- Newcastle Statistical Region Sector
- Illawarra and South Eastern Statistical Regions
- Illawarra Statistical Region
- Wollongong Statistical Region Sector
- Richmond-Tweed and Mid-North Coast Statistical Regions
- Northern, Far West-North Western and Central West Statistical Regions
- Murray-Murrumbidgee Statistical Region
Australian Capital Territory and South Eastern (NSW) Statistical Regions
Melbourne Major Statistical Region
- Outer Western Melbourne Statistical Region
- North Western Melbourne Statistical Region
- Inner Melbourne Statistical Region
- North Eastern Melbourne Statistical Region
- Inner Eastern Melbourne Statistical Region
- Southern Melbourne Statistical Region
- Outer Eastern Melbourne Statistical Region
- South Eastern Melbourne Statistical Region
- Mornington Peninsula Statistical Region
Balance of Victoria Major Statistical Region
- Barwon-Western District Statistical Region
- Central Highlands-Wimmera Statistical Region
- Loddon-Mallee Statistical Region
- Goulburn-Ovens-Murray Statistical Region
- All Gippsland Statistical Region
Brisbane Major Statistical Region
- Brisbane City Inner Ring Statistical Region
- Brisbane City Outer Ring Statistical Region
- South and East BSD Balance Statistical Region
- North and West BSD Balance Statistical Region
Gold Coast City (Parts A and B) Statistical Region Sectors
Balance of Queensland Major Statistical Region
- South and East Moreton Statistical Region
- North and West Moreton Statistical Region
- Wide Bay-Burnett Statistical Region
- Darling Downs-South West Statistical Region
- Mackay-Fitzroy-Central West Statistical Region
- Northern-North West Statistical Region
- Far North Statistical Region
Adelaide Major Statistical Region
- Northern Adelaide Statistical Region
- Western Adelaide Statistical Region
- Eastern Adelaide Statistical Region
- Southern Adelaide Statistical Region
Balance of South Australia Major Statistical Region
- Northern and Western SA Statistical Region
- Southern and Eastern SA Statistical Region
Perth Major Statistical Region
- Central Metropolitan Statistical Region
- East Metropolitan Statistical Region
- North Metropolitan Statistical Region
- South West Metropolitan Statistical Region
- South East Metropolitan Statistical Region
Balance of Western Australia Major Statistical Region
- Lower Western WA Statistical Region
- Remainder-Balance of WA Statistical Region
Greater Hobart-Southern Statistical Region Sector
- Greater Hobart Statistical Division
Northern Statistical Region Sector
Mersey-Lyell Statistical Region Sector
Northern Territory Statistical Region
Australian Capital Territory:
Australian Capital Territory Statistical Region
The ABS publishes a wide range of statistics on the labour force.
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