Persons quadrant

Latest release
Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods
Reference period
2021
Released
15/02/2022
Next release Unknown
First release

The Persons quadrant provides statistics on employed people, people looking for and available for employment (unemployed people), and underemployed people.

Persons quadrant

Persons quadrant

Persons quadrant

The diagram shows that:
Employed persons equals Number of main jobs (Total economy level).
Unemployed persons plus Underemployed persons equals Underutilised persons.
Employed persons plus Unemployed persons equals Labour Force.

Persons concepts

The official measure of the population of Australia is based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families.

The Australian Labour Account uses a practical application of the ‘12/16’ rule to establish usual resident status for non-resident visa holders with working rights. A person is regarded as a usual resident if they have been (or expect to be) residing in Australia for a period of 12 months or more. This 12 month period does not have to be continuous and is measured over a 16 month period. For more information on the ‘12/16 month rule’ methodology, see the Technical Note in Migration, Australia, 2008-09.

The scope of the population in the Australian Labour Account includes all persons who contribute to Australian economic activity, irrespective of age.

Persons sources

Source data for quarterly and industry estimates of persons

Labour statistics represented in the Persons quadrant are mostly sourced from estimates calculated from the monthly Labour Force Survey. Data from the monthly Labour Force Survey are released in two stages: Labour Force, Australia, and Labour Force, Australia, Detailed. Labour Force Survey data are supplemented with defence force information, child workers information and information on non-residents. 

Data from the ABS Linked Employer Employee Dataset (LEED) are used to determine industry of employment of secondary job holders, and applied to Labour Force Survey data to calculate total jobs in each industry. This information is used to adjust the Labour Force Survey estimate of employed persons in each industry, by excluding multiple job holding within the same industry from the total number of filled jobs.

The table below summarises data sources used in compiling quarterly and industry estimates of persons.

Source dataUse in compiling quarterly data
Labour Force, Australia and Labour Force, Australia, DetailedUsed to compile estimates of employed persons, unemployed persons, underemployed persons, not in the labour force and civilian population
Defence force information (National Accounts)Used to estimate employed defence personnel.
Child Employment, Australia, 2006Used to estimate employed children.
Migration, Australia and Overseas Arrivals and Departures, AustraliaUsed to estimate short-term non-residents working in Australia.
Balance of PaymentsUsed to estimate employed Australian residents living in Australia employed by overseas companies/business entities.
Australian Demographic StatisticsUsed for the total estimated resident population.

Source data for annual estimates of persons

The same source data are used in compiling annual estimates in the Persons quadrant.

Persons methods

The Persons quadrant provides data on the number of employed, unemployed and underemployed persons for each quarter. Persons statistics are compiled for all industries (at both the division and subdivision level) and for the economy as a whole. Unless otherwise stated, the methods described apply to both levels of aggregation.

Labour Account employed persons

Similar adjustments to those made in compiling the Jobs quadrant are made to adjust the employed persons estimate from the Labour Force Survey to align with 2008 SNA production and residence concepts. These include calculating estimates for:

  • permanent defence force personnel;
  • employed persons under 15 years of age (child workers);
  • non-residents employed in Australia by Australian businesses; and
  • Australian residents employed working overseas.

At an industry level, similar assumptions are made with respect to multiple job holding for these groups as for employed persons generally, with the exception of the following groups:

  • permanent defence forces, whose employment conditions are presumed to exclude secondary jobs;
  • short term arrival students and sponsored visa holders are assumed to only hold main jobs, due to the restrictions associated with these types of visa; and
  • employed children under 15 years, who are also assumed to not hold secondary jobs.

Please refer to the Jobs Quadrant Methods for more detail regarding these adjustments.

Similar to the Jobs quadrant, the Persons quadrant, where relevant, uses data sourced from information collected in the Labour Force Survey in the last month of the relevant quarter, and apportions this across the industries using the related quarterly labour force industry data. For example, estimates in the September quarter labour account are sourced from September month Labour Force data, which are then distributed across industry divisions from the industry distribution of quarterly data captured in the August Labour Force Survey published in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed.

Calculation of employed persons by industry

At an industry level, the number of employed persons is the sum of those holding main jobs in the industry, plus those holding secondary jobs after adjusting for double counting (i.e. for persons holding multiple jobs in the same industry). The Labour Force Survey captures data quarterly on the industry of the main job held by employed persons. For each employed person, it also records the number of secondary jobs held (second, third, fourth or more). The Labour Force Survey does not record the industry of secondary jobs.

Data from the ABS Linked Employer Employee Dataset (LEED) are then used to determine the proportions of the industry of employment of second, third and fourth jobs for multiple job holders, and applied to industry of main job Labour Force Survey data. These proportions are used to allocate the relevant quarterly Labour Force Survey secondary job holdings to each industry, to estimate the total number of filled jobs in each industry.

These proportions are extracted as at the end date for each quarter from the LEED, and are updated as new data points become available. Industry proportions from the earliest available LEED are applied to earlier time periods in the Australian Labour Account, and similarly the latest available proportions are applied to subsequent time periods where necessary.

To estimate the number of people employed in each industry, instances where the industry of second job is the same as the industry of main job are identified. These jobs are removed to derive a count of the number of additional people employed in each industry, and added to LFS main job data. 

The Labour Force Survey provides an estimate of employed persons in each industry of main job. The Australian Labour Account produces the total number of people employed in each industry from an industry perspective. As a result, the sum of employed persons in the Australian Labour Account across industry divisions does not equal the total number of people employed in the whole economy. 

The purpose of adjusting the Labour Force Survey number of people employed in each industry of main job is to provide information on the total number of people employed in each industry in a time series. This could be used to assess training programs or policy changes targeting a particular industry, to provide a more realistic picture of the number of people who may be impacted by any such change. 

Multiple Job Holders 

The Labour Force Survey identifies multiple job holders as employed persons who, during the reference week, worked in more than one job and that was not the result of changing jobs. Multiple job holding is the main reason why estimates of employment from the Labour Force Survey cannot be equated to estimates of jobs. Also, under the Labour Force Survey, industry classification for multiple job holders is based on main job, with this main industry identified using hours actually worked.

In the Linked Employer Employee Dataset (LEED), multiple job holders are persons who have two or more concurrent jobs at any point during the financial year. Industry information is available for each individual job.

The Australian Labour Account incorporates both Labour Force Survey and LEED data, and can use this information to provide data on the number of multiple job holders. This is distinct from the number of secondary jobs for each industry, which is presented in the Jobs quadrant.

Estimates of multiple job holders in the Australian Labour Account are compiled by applying proportions from business/ administrative data sources (the LEED) to balanced numbers of main jobs for each industry, while controlling to the proportion of multiple job holding at the total economy level taken from the Labour Force Survey. 

Additional estimates of persons

The Persons quadrant includes additional related estimates at both total economy and industry levels for:

  • Unemployed Persons;
  • Underemployed Persons;
  • Underutilised Persons; and
  • Persons not in the Labour Force (total economy only).

It should be noted that industry estimates for the unemployed population are based on industry of last job worked (within the past two years) from the Labour Force Survey, and do not necessarily equate to the industries in which the unemployed are currently seeking work, nor do they include those who have never held a job previously. As such, care should be exercised when interpreting estimates of unemployed persons (and therefore underutilised persons and the total labour force) on an industry basis.

Annual estimates of persons

The Persons quadrant contains stock data, which are data that measure certain attributes at a point in time. To determine an annual estimate of persons in this quadrant, an average level is derived using a simple arithmetic average of the four quarterly estimates. Refer to Labour Account Methods for an example of this method.

The annual estimate of employed persons is an approximate estimate of the number of persons employed at any point in time during the year.

Persons quadrant calculations

Persons quadrant sources and calculations

Persons quadrant sources and calculations

Persons quadrant sources and calculations

The diagram shows that:
Labour Force Survey (LFS) main jobs by status in employment (monthly) multiplied by Labour Force Survey (LFS) main jobs by status in employment (quarterly industry proportions) equals Labour Force Survey employed persons by industry by quarter.
Defence personnel (NAB) plus Non residents employed in Australia adjustment (ABS) plus Child workers (all employed children) plus Secondary employment (Jobs quadrant) less Residents employed overseas adjustment (BoP) equals Adjustments to employed persons.
Labour Force Survey (LFS) employed persons by industry by quarter plus Adjustments to employed persons equals Labour Account employed persons by industry by quarter.
Labour Force Survey (LFS) unemployed (monthly) multiplied by Labour Force Survey (LFS) unemployed by industry of last job (quarterly industry proportions) equals Labour Force Survey unemployed persons by industry of last job by quarter.
Labour Force Survey (LFS) Underemployed (monthly) multiplied by Labour Force Survey (LFS) underemployed by industry of main job (quarterly industry proportions) equals Labour Force Survey underemployed persons by industry of main job by quarter.
Labour Force Survey unemployed persons by industry of last job by quarter plus Labour Force Survey underemployed persons by industry of main job by quarter equals Labour Force Survey underutilised persons by industry by quarter.
Labour Force Survey unemployed persons by industry of last job by quarter plus Labour Account employed persons by industry by quarter equals Labour Account Labour Force total by industry by quarter.

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