Labour force status (LFSP)
This variable records a person’s labour force status for the week prior to Census Night.
Persons aged 15 years and over
|1||Employed, worked full-time|
|2||Employed, worked part-time|
|3||Employed, away from work|
|4||Unemployed, looking for full-time work|
|5||Unemployed, looking for part-time work|
|6||Not in the labour force|
Number of categories: 9
Not applicable (@) category comprises:
- Persons aged under 15 years
'Employed, away from work' also includes persons who stated they worked but who did not state the number of hours worked.
'Full-time' work means 35 hours or more per week in all jobs.
'Part-time' work means less than 35 hours per week in all jobs.
See Understanding supplementary codes for more information.
Question(s) from the Census form
Last week, did the person have a job of any kind?
In the main job held last week, was the person: Working for an employer; Working in own business?
This question is only applicable for people aged 15 years and over who responded 'Yes, worked for payment or profit' or 'Yes, but absent on holidays, on paid leave, on strike, or temporarily stood down' to the previous question, 'Last week, did the person have a job of any kind?'
Last week, how many hours did the person work in all jobs?
Did the person actively look for work at any time in the last four weeks?
If the person had found a job, could the person have started work last week?
This question is only applicable to people aged 15 years and over who responded 'Yes, looked for full-time work' or 'Yes, looked for part-time work' to the previous question, 'Did the person actively look for work at any time in the last four weeks?'
How this variable is created
Labour force status (LFSP) is derived using responses to questions on:
- full/part-time job
- job last week
- hours worked
- looking for work and
- availability to start work
The derivation method takes into account answers to these questions to derive the most appropriate Labour force status. Occupation information may sometimes be used.
History and changes
Questions relating to labour force status were first asked in the 1911 Census. Response categories were revised in 2006 to align more closely with ABS labour force concepts.
Minor changes were made in 2016 to two of the five questions that contribute to the Labour force status variable. Minor changes were also made to the instructions on the online Census form.
For 2021, an instruction was added to the online form to provide guidance to people in COVID-19 affected areas on Census day. Additional instructions were also added to the Census website – see Data use considerations below for more details.
Data use considerations
A number of regions across the country were in various stages of lockdown on Census day, and the week preceding it, resulting in a greater number of people being temporarily stood down on Census day. Guidance on how to correctly respond to the employment question was provided at the time on the Census website, as follows:
'If you were employed in the four weeks prior to the current lockdown period, but haven't been able to work in the last week due to lockdown or requirement to self-isolate, please select 'Yes, but absent on holidays, on paid leave, on strike or temporarily stood down'.
Those who were not working four weeks prior to the lockdown were asked to select 'No, did not have a job'.
Community Development Program
People participating only in the Community Development Program are not considered to be employed for the Census. They are considered unemployed or not in the labour force, depending on their job search activities and availability. For further information see Community Development Program participation (CDPP).