Insights from the new Labour Account Australia data from ABS

Yesterday the ABS released for the first time their experimental data series Labour Account Australia. In the ABS’s own words..”This publication presents experimental estimates for the Australian Labour Account for the period 2010–11 to 2015–16. The Australian Labour Account consists of eleven sets of tables focusing on four central quadrants of Jobs, Persons, Labour Volume and Labour Payments. Data in each table are available annually, and for the 19 industry divisions defined in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC). The experimental estimates presented here have been compiled from existing published and unpublished data from various sources.

There are some major differences with the more familiar Labour Force data that the ABS produce each month. Most obvious amongst these is the fact that the Labour Account data counts all workers (who are “usually resident”), including those in the defence force, children under 15 years and non-residents (all of whom are excluded in the Labour Force data). It also looks at secondary jobs; i.e. jobs where the person being employed already has a primary (or “main”) job.

Full details of this new data set can be found on the ABS website here.

Taking a look at the main findings for the period from 2010-11 to 2015-16, and considering compound annual growth rates over those five years, we can see that:-

  • The number employed has been rising at 1.3% pa
  • The number of “secondary jobs” has risen more strongly at 1.8% pa
  • Total (“filled”) jobs have therefore risen 1.4% pa
  • Total labour income (which includes compensation to employees and income from self-employed work) has risen by 4% pa
  • Average Labour Income per person employed has been rising by 2.6% pa while average hourly income per employed person is up 2.8%.
  • The reason for the difference being that the average hours worked per job has been falling 0.2% pa
  • Over the same period estimated Australian population has been growing at 1.6% pa

This new data set is a welcome addition to the ABS suite of releases and provides a useful insight into the broader labour market, albeit only on an annual basis.

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