Microdata: Longitudinal Labour Force, Australia

Enables in-depth analysis of the social and economic aspects of labour market engagement over time

Accessing the data

You can use this data in: 

  • DataLab - analyse detailed longitudinal microdata

Compare access options to see what's right for you or Apply for access.

The Labour Force Survey provides monthly statistics about the labour market participation of the population. It is conducted every month throughout Australia. See Labour Force, Australia for summary results, methodology and other information.

Data and file structure

Data items include: 

  • Demographics, such as age, sex and country of birth
  • Survey month and time in survey
  • Geography
  • Household and family characteristics
  • Employment characteristics
  • Hours worked
  • Industry
  • Occupation
  • Skill level of job
  • Educational attainment and attendance
  • Underemployment and Underutilisation
  • Unemployment and details of last job
  • Retrenchments
  • Duration of job search
  • Reason not in the labour force

Use the data item list in the Data downloads section to confirm this dataset includes what you need for your research before purchasing your subscription.

The file is structured as a single level person file. Higher level characteristics, such as items related to households and families, are attributed to each person record.

The Longitudinal Labour Force (LLFS) data spans multiple time periods, so the month of the survey also acts like an additional level. Individuals can be observed for up to eight months making the data suitable for use in analysis of cross sections, pooled cross sections, short panels and longer pseudo panels.

The current edition of the LLFS covers Labour Force Survey (LFS) responses from October 1982 to October 2021. The LLFS will continue to be updated on a monthly basis, scheduled 8 days after the release of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). The next release of LLFS with November 2021 data is scheduled for release in DataLab on 23 December 2021.

Using DataLab

DataLab allows real time access to detailed microdata files through a portal to a secure ABS environment. Using detailed microdata in DataLab allows users to run advanced statistical analyses using recent analytical software.

For information about the data items available on the detailed microdata files, see the Data Item List in the Data Downloads section.

About DataLab

Detailed microdata files in DataLab can be accessed on-site at ABS offices or in a secure virtual environment from your own computer. All unit record data remains in DataLab, and any analysis results or tables are checked by the ABS before being provided to users.

For more information, including prerequisites for DataLab access, please see the About DataLab page.

Detailed microdata test file

A test file is available as a free download in the Data downloads section.

The test file mimics the structure of the detailed microdata in that it has the same data items and allowed values. This allows users to become familiar with the data structure and prepare code/programs before applying for or beginning a DataLab session.

All data on the test file is false, created through a randomisation process and therefore cannot be used for analysis.

Counts and weights

The current edition of the Longitudinal LFS (LLFS) includes 460 monthly cross sections covering the period from October 1982 to October 2021 (Table 1). On average each cross section has over 61,000 observations but the size of the cross sections has been closer to 50,000 since late 2009. Between July 2008 and September 2009, the sample size was temporarily reduced to be around 40,000. The size of cross sections generally declines over time reflecting improvements in sampling methodology.

Each cross section is used to produce the headline LFS statistics. The weights provided with the LLFS ensure that each cross-section reproduces the statistics found in the LFS.

Table 1: Summary of monthly cross sections(a)
 MonthsMinimumMaximumAverageTotal
Observations46041,47276,22861,15528,131,195
  1. Excluding the missing cross sections for May 1983, June 1983, November 1983, January 1984, September 1984, December 1984, January 1985, July 1985 and July 1986.

For more information about the file structure, see the Data and file structure section.

For more information about the weights, see the Weighting and Benchmarks section of the Data Item List, available in the Data downloads section.

Unit identifiers

Every record of the file is uniquely identified by the item ABSRID. This identifier is a combination of the household identifier ABSHID and the person identifier ABSPID. All of these identifiers are used consistently across months to create longitudinal links.

Non-private dwellings and dwellings selected in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are excluded from longitudinal linking. These include hotels, motels, hostels, hospitals, religious institutions providing accommodation, educational institutions providing accommodation, prisons, boarding houses, and short-stay caravan parks. These are given a new household identifier each month in this dataset. People in non-private dwellings are more likely to be older and not in the labour force than those in private dwellings.

Family units are identified by the item FAMNUM. This identifier is not used consistently across months due to the dynamic nature of family relationships. Its purpose is to identify family units within multiple family households for the particular circumstances of each month. The identification of family units in one month may not necessarily correspond to how family units are identified in subsequent or preceding months.

For more information about the identifiers, see the Record Identifiers section of the Data Item List, available in the Data downloads section.

Longitudinal analysis

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is designed to survey the same household for eight consecutive months. However, this means that individuals can move in and out of the LLFS for a number of reasons:

  • they do not complete the survey in a month,
  • they are visiting the household,
  • they move house permanently, or
  • they are in a non-private dwelling.

While 5.6 million individuals are observed in total, over 1.9 million are observed for the full eight months (Table 2).

Table 2: Counts of individuals
 Number of responses
12345678Total
Total1,448,890303,745276,262380,591292,246372,454644,1211,939,8585,658,167
Visitors142,03417,7045,6582,2701,018593436352170,065
Non-private dwellings915,983       915,983

Some individuals are more likely to leave the LFS than others.

  • Males are more likely to leave relative to females
  • Younger individuals are more likely to leave relative to older individuals
  • Unemployed individuals are more likely to leave relative to employed individuals or those not in the labour force
  • Individuals in regional areas are more likely to leave relative to those in capital cities
  • Single individuals are more likely to leave relative to married individuals
  • People who were born overseas are more likely to leave than those born in Australia
  • Those visiting a household are more likely to leave than those that live in the household

When linking individuals, this variability in the types of people who leave and stay in the LFS results in attrition bias overtime. It is important when looking at aggregate statistics that use linked observations to be aware of this bias and to attempt to control for it if possible. This can be done by adjusting the weights appropriately - increasing the weights for those who are more likely to leave the LFS.

It is also important to consider how the collection of the LFS has changed over time. The method of data collection has changed to allow a greater choice in how people respond, from face-to-face interviews to phone interviews to online self-completion.

Concordance files

Correspondence files for International classifications

Two correspondence files have been provided to help convert Australian Industry and Occupation data to their equivalent International standards. These "1-to-1" files can be used on both the underlying unit record data and any tabular outputs

  • anzsic_06_to_isic_r4 - Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006, Rev 2.0 (ANZSIC 2006) to International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities, Rev. 4 (ISIC Rev. 4)
  • anzsco_13_to_isco_08 - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.3 (ANZSCO v1.3) to International Standard Classification of Occupations, 2008 (ISCO-08)

For more information on ISIC and ISCO, refer to the International Labour Organisations website: www.ilo.org

Concordance files for historical Australian classifications

Four concordance files have been provided to help convert older Australian Industry and Occupations data to the current standards. These "1-to-many" files can be used by proportionally distributing data on older units into newer units by applying the RATIO variable to the weighted estimates. It is recommended that these only be used on summarised tabular outputs, as applying them to the underlying unit record data could create many millions of duplicate records and impede performance.

  • anzsic_93_to_anzsic_06 - Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 1993 (ANZSIC 1993) to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006, Rev 2.0 (ANZSIC 2006)
  • asic_83_to_anzsic_06 - Australian Standard Industrial Classification, 1983 (ASIC 1983) to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006, Rev 2.0 (ANZSIC 2006)
  • asco_se_to_anzsco_13 - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition (ASCOSE) to Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.3 (ANZSCO v1.3)
  • asco_fe_to_anzsco_13 - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition (ASCOFE) to Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.3 (ANZSCO v1.3)

The periods when these concordances are most useful are as follows:

  • anzsic_93_to_anzsic_06 - applies to industry data collected in the LFS between August 1994 and May 2006
  • asic_83_to_anzsic_06 - applies to industry data collected in the LFS between November 1984 and July 1994
  • asco_se_to_anzsco_13 - applies to occupation data collected in the LFS between August 1996 and May 2006
  • asco_fe_to_anzsco_13 - applies to occupation data collected in the LFS between August 1986 and July 1996

For more information on these classification, refer to the ABS website: www.abs.gov.au.

All of these files are available in SAS, Stata and SPSS formats in the "Concordance files" folder of the "LLFD_G_monthly" CURF Data folder in ABS DataLab.

Data downloads

Data files

History of changes

19/11/2021 - Version 2110, Oct 1982 to October 2021

  • Addition of month Oct 2021.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) and Replicate weights (REPWTG01 - REPWTG30) for Sep 2021 to account for a small increase in non-response bias detected within the incoming rotation groups in Victoria.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Sep 2021 to match the previous version (version 2109).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Mar 2021 to Sept 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

Show all

22/10/2021 - Version 2109, Oct 1982 to September 2021

  • Addition of month Sep 2021.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Jul 2019 to Aug 2021 to match the previous version (version 2108).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Feb 2021 to Aug 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

24/09/2021 - Version 2108, Oct 1982 to August 2021

  • Addition of month Aug 2021.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT), Replicate weights (REPWTG01 - REPWTG30) and Population count (POPCOUNT) for the period Jul 2019 to Jul 2021 due to LFS quarterly rebenchmarking.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Jul 2021 to match the previous version (version 2107).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Jan 2021 to Jul 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

27/08/2021 - Version 2107, Oct 1982 to July 2021

  • Addition of month Jul 2021.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Jun 2021 to match the previous version (version 2106).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Dec 2020 to Jun 2021 to account for the additional month of data.
  • Revisions to Reason why worked less than usual hours (REASLTUH) and Reason why full-time workers worked part-time hours (REASLTFT) for the period Jul 2014 to Jun 2021 to correct the categorisation of some people who reported 'Other reasons' and were previously inadvertently grouped into the 'Began, left or lost a job' category.
  • Revisions to Year of birth (YRBIRTH) for the period Oct 1982 to Jun 2014 to improve consistency for records across time. Previously, year of birth was estimated at each point in time based on age. For the period Jul 2014 to Jul 2021, Year of birth is directly collected from respondents and may retain some inconsistency.
  • Addition of replicate weights (REPWTG01 - REPWTG30) to facilitate calculation of variance and standard errors using the Jacknife method.

23/07/2021 - Version 2106, Oct 1982 to June 2021 

  • Addition of month Jun 2021.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Oct 2019 to May 2021 to match the previous version (version 2105).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Nov 2020 to May 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

29/06/2021 - Version 2105, Oct 1982 to May 2021

  • Addition of month May 2021.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) and Population count (POPCOUNT) for the period Oct 2019 to April 2021 due to LFS quarterly rebenchmarking.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for April 2021 to match the previous version (version 2104).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Oct 2020 to April 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

28/05/2021 - Version 2104, Oct 1982 to April 2021

  • Addition of month Apr 2021.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Mar 2021 to match the previous version (version 2103).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Sep 2020 to Mar 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

23/04/2021 - Version 2103, Oct 1982 to Mar 2021

  • Addition of month Mar 2021.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Aug 2019 to Feb 2021 to match the previous version (version 2102).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Aug 2020 to Feb 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

26/03/2021 - Version 2102, Oct 1982 to Feb 2021

  • Addition of month Feb 2021.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) and Population count (POPCOUNT) for the period Jul 2019 to Jan 2021 due to LFS quarterly rebenchmarking.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Jan 2021 to match the previous version (version 2101).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Jul 2020 to Jan 2021 to account for the additional month of data.

26/02/2021 - Version 2101, Oct 1982 to Jan 2021

  • Addition of month Jan 2021.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for Dec 2020 to match the previous version (version 2012).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Jun 2020 to Dec 2020 to account for the additional month of data.
  • Updates to Decade of arrival (DECARR), Year of arrival (YRARR), Year left school (YRSCHOOL), and Year completed highest non-school qualification (YRCOMNSQ) to include the year 2021.
  • Revisions to the Record ID (ABSRID) and Person ID (ABSPID) of one record in May 2020 due to a minor improvement in linking methods.

29/01/2021 - Version 2012, Oct 1982 to Dec 2020

  • Addition of month Dec 2020.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for the period April 2019 to Nov 2020 to match the previous version (version 2011).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period May 2020 to Nov 2020 to account for the additional month of data.

23/12/2020 - Version 2011, Oct 1982 to Nov 2020

  • Addition of month Nov 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) and Population count (POPCOUNT) for the period Apr 2019 to Oct 2020 due to LFS quarterly rebenchmarking.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for the period Aug 2020 to Oct 2020 to match the previous version (version 2010).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Apr 2020 to Oct 2020 to account for the additional month of data.

30/11/2020 - Version 2010, Oct 1982 to Oct 2020

  • Addition of month Oct 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) for Aug 2020 and Sep 2020 due to adjustments in the weighted contribution from the incoming rotation group.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for the period Aug 2018 to Sep 2020 to match the previous version (version 2009).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Mar 2020 to Sep 2020 to account for the additional month of data.

23/10/2020 - Version 2009, Oct 1982 to Sep 2020

  • Addition of month Sep 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) for Aug 2020 due to adjustments in the weighted contribution from the incoming rotation group.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for the period Jul 2018 to Aug 2020 to match the previous version (version 2008).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Feb 2020 to Aug 2020 to account for the additional month of data.
  • Revisions to Duration of job search (weeks) (DURJSCH) for three records in Aug 2020 due to a minor coding error

25/09/2020 - Version 2008, Oct 1982 to Aug 2020

  • Addition of month Aug 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) and Population count (POPCOUNT) for the period Jul 2018 to Jul 2020 due to LFS quarterly rebenchmarking.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for the period Jun 2020 to Jul 2020 to match the previous version (version 2007).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Jan 2020 to Jul 2020 to account for the additional month of data.
  • Additional files provided for concordance of industry and occupation data to International standards and between historical and current Australian standards. For more information, refer to Concordance files

21/08/2020 - Version 2007, Oct 1982 to Jul 2020

  • Addition of month Jul 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) for June 2020 due to adjustments in the weighted contribution from the incoming rotation group.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for the period May 2020 to June 2020 to match the previous version (version 2006).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Dec 2019 to Jun 2020 to account for the additional month of data.

24/07/2020 - Version 2006, Oct 1982 to Jun 2020

  • Addition of month Jun 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) for May 2020 due to adjustments in the weighted contribution from the incoming rotation group.
  • Revisions to Previous weight (PREVWT) for the period Jul 2018 to May 2020 to match the previous version (version 2005).
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Nov 2019 to May 2020 to account for the additional month of data.

26/06/2020 - Version 2005, Oct 1982 to May 2020

  • Addition of month May 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) and Population count (POPCOUNT) for the period Jul 2018 to Apr 2020 due to LFS quarterly rebenchmarking.
  • Addition of new item (PREVWT) which provides the unrevised weights from the previous version (version 2004) as a secondary weight for comparison against the newly revised weights.
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) for the period Oct 2019 to Apr 2020 to account for the additional month of data.
  • Addition of new items relating to retrenchments and other jobs left or lost - Number of jobs left or lost in last 3 months (NUMLLJ3M), Lost jobs and retrenchment status in last 3 months (RTRNCH3M), and Reasons left or lost job(s) in last 3 months (RSLLJ3MA to RSLLJ3MM). See the updated Data Item List in Downloads for more details.
  • Addition of new item - Away from work status (AWAYWORK). See the updated Data Item List in Downloads for more details.

22/05/2020 - Version 2004, Oct 1982 to Apr 2020

  • Addition of months Sep 2019 to Apr 2020.
  • Revisions to Weight (WEIGHT) and Population count (POPCOUNT) for the period Apr 2018 to Aug 2019 due to LFS quarterly rebenchmarking.
  • Revisions to Number of responses (NUMRESP) and Response number (RESPNUM) for the period Feb 2019 to Aug 2019 to account for the additional months of data.
  • Updates to Decade of arrival (DECARR), Year of arrival (YRARR), Year left school (YRSCHOOL), and Year completed highest non-school qualification (YRCOMNSQ) to include the year 2020.
  • Updates to First day of reference week (STRTDATE) for the period Oct 2005 to Jun 2014 to include more detailed data.
  • Revisions to Labour market region of usual residence (REGNASGS) for the period Jul 2018 to Aug 2019 to include previously missing data.

06/12/2019 - Version 1908, Oct 1982 to Aug 2019

10/12/2012 - First release, Jan 2008 to Dec 2010

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6602.0.