ABS explains what happened to the Labour Force data

Labour Force data in the previous few months has been a confusing subject (see our posts here and here). Seasonally adjusted data from the ABS had become so volatile that last month the ABS scrapped seasonal adjustment altogether for the past few months and announced a review into what had been going on. Today sees the release of that review. The upshot (which you can read in full here) is that the Bureau have determined that changes earlier in the year introduced into the supplementary surveys (surveys other than the main Labour Force Survey which collect information on specific issues) are the main cause of the issues. As a result they have revised the methodology by which these surveys are used.

This has resulted in some revisions to previous months data which will be included in the release for October (due on Thursday). The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, number employed and those unemployed have all been adjusted. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Sept has been revised up to 6.2% with the past three months revised up to 6.1% from 6.0%.

For anyone really interested, here’s Stephen Collett, Director Labour Force, explaining today’s changes to the Labour Force estimates. Peter Martin over at the SMH also has a great piece explaining what’s been going on.

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