Statistical work program changes in response to COVID-19

Media Statement

The ABS is focussed on responding to community and government information needs at this time. 

As previously announced, the ABS is providing a range of additional, more up-to-date information to enhance understanding of the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The ABS will continue to deliver critical economic and social statistics during this time. However, some elements of the ABS Forward Work Program need to be changed or delayed.

Population and Social Statistics

Face-to-face household interviews are no longer being conducted to ensure the safety of ABS staff and households. Data collection is continuing via web and telephone interview modes for these household surveys: 

  • the Labour Force Survey and related survey topics; and
  • the Survey of Income and Housing.

These household surveys have been delayed for the foreseeable future:

  • Longitudinal Study of Australian Children;
  • Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies; and
  • Family and Community Experiences Survey.

Economic, Labour and Industry Statistics

The ABS is revising its work program to reduce reporting required by businesses, while meeting critical information needs about business activity, changes in the economy and the impact of COVID-19. These surveys have been delayed: 

  • Retail Trade Margins Index survey – delayed for the foreseeable future;
  • Bi-ennial Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours survey – from May 2020 to May 2021, and outputs delayed until January 2022;
  • Periodic Transport Industry and Activity Survey – from August 2020 to August 2021; and
  • Film, Television and Digital Games Survey – from August 2020 to August 2021.

The ABS will continue to carefully consider the information needs of the community and government. Further announcements about changes to the work program, and recommencement of delayed activities, will be made as necessary.

Dr David Gruen
Australian Statistician
22 April 2020

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