Unemployment flag (UEFP)

Latest release
Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period


This variable is used for national reporting purposes.

This variable flags whether a person is unemployed or employed for people who reported they are in the labour force. This variable can be used to calculate the proportion of the labour force that is unemployed, as used in Closing the Gap Target 8 – Strong economic participation and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.


All persons aged 15 years and over


@Not applicable*
VOverseas visitor*

Number of categories: 4

Not applicable (@) comprises:

  • Persons under 15 years of age
  • Persons whose Labour force status (LFSP) was Not stated or Not in the labour force

* Categories marked with an '*' are to be excluded from data extracted for national reporting purposes.

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

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?

How this variable is created

Data for this variable is created by making custom categories from Labour force status (LFSP) as shown in the table below:

Labour force status (LFSP)Labour force participation flag (LFFP)
1 Employed, worked full-time2 Employed
2 Employed, worked part-time2 Employed
3 Employed, away from work2 Employed
4 Unemployed, looking for full-time work1 Unemployed
5 Unemployed, looking for part-time work1 Unemployed
6 Not in the labour force@ Not applicable*
& Not stated@ Not applicable*
@ Not applicable (Persons aged under 15 years)@ Not applicable*
V Overseas visitorV Overseas visitor*

History and changes

This variable was first created in 2016. For 2021, 'Overseas visitors' have been separated out from the 'Not applicable' category into a separate category.

Data use considerations

This variable was created for National reporting purposes. Any analyses using this variable that are for other purposes should be done with caution and with reference to the relevant inclusions and exclusions described above.

Categories marked with an '*' are to be excluded from data extracted for national reporting purposes. 

This variable is derived from the Labour force status (LFSP) variable. The non-response rate for Labour force status (LFSP) was 5.8% in 2021. This is a decrease from 6.7% in 2016.

Comparing Census with the ABS Labour Force Survey

The Census and Labour Force Survey both collect information about the labour market activity of people aged 15 years and over. While both collections seek to measure the concepts related to employment, unemployment and being outside of the labour force, there are a number of differences between them that should be considered in the use of the data. A summary of the differences between these collections is available in Comparing the 2021 Census and the Labour Force Survey

Related variables and glossary terms

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