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Questionnaires used in the Labour Force Survey

Definitions, guidelines to following the questionnaire, identification of unemployed persons from the questionnaire and a copy of the questionnaire

Release date and time

Introduction

Overview

This paper outlines the key underlying concepts and questions used in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) component of the Monthly Population Survey (MPS), and describes recent changes made to the LFS questionnaire. A copy of the current questionnaire, introduced in July 2014, is available in the Survey material section.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been conducting the LFS since November 1960. The survey was conducted quarterly, in February, May, August and November, from 1960 to 1977. The survey was initially restricted to state capital cities only, with quarterly national surveys commencing in February 1964. The national survey has been conducted on a monthly basis since February 1978.

Labour Force Survey data

Estimates from the LFS of the number of employed and unemployed people, the unemployment rate, the labour force participation rate and the employment to population ratio are released each month. These estimates determine:

  • the rate of change in the level of employment which is a key indicator of the pace of economic growth in Australia;
  • the unemployment rate (the proportion of the labour force who are unemployed) which is the main measure of the unutilised labour force; and
  • the participation rate (the proportion of the population in the labour force) which reflects changes in total available labour supply.
     

In 2015 another important aspect of unutilised labour, underemployment, will commence being released monthly.

The LFS also collects a range of other information about the population. For employed people, information is collected on hours worked and whether they work full-time or part-time, whether they want and are available to work more hours, and their industry, occupation and status in employment. For people who are currently unemployed, the survey collects information about whether they are looking for a full-time or part-time job, how long they have been looking, and the characteristics of their last job (industry, occupation and reasons for leaving). Estimates of the labour force characteristics of families are also produced from the LFS (Footnote 1).

The Household form is also a component of the MPS. The Household form collects personal characteristics of each member of the household. These characteristics include sex, age, marital status, relationship in household, participation in school, country of birth, and, where applicable, year of arrival in Australia. Please note the Household form is not included in the attached LFS questionnaire.

In all months, additional questions are added to the end of the LFS questionnaire for selected population groups and/or a selected part of the sample. These additional questions relate to supplementary surveys or the Multi Purpose Household Survey (MPHS). The supplementary surveys provide data in relation to labour and non-labour (for example the environment and characteristics of recent migrants) topics. The MPHS is designed to provide statistics annually for a number of labour, social and economic topics. These topics include crime victimisation, the use of information technology and retirement and retirement intentions. For further information on supplementary surveys see Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001), or contact Labour Force and Supplementary Survey Section on (02) 6252 7206 or via email to labour.statistics@abs.gov.au.

Estimates from the LFS are published monthly, initially in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) and later in the more detailed Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001). Further detail in relation to the quarterly months (February, May, August and November) is published quarterly in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003). More detailed estimates tailored to specific needs can be requested as a user pays service.

Survey methodology

The LFS is based on a multi-stage area sample of private dwellings (currently about 26,000 houses, flats, etc.) and a list sample of non-private dwellings (hotels, motels, etc.), and covers about 0.32% of the population of Australia — see Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design (cat. no. 6269.0) for further information on how the LFS sample is designed.

The survey is generally conducted during the two weeks beginning on the Sunday between the 5th and the 11th of each month. The information obtained relates to the week before the interview (that is, the reference week). Selected dwellings remain in the survey for eight consecutive months.

The LFS includes all persons aged 15 years and over except:

  • members of the permanent defence forces;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated population counts;
  • overseas residents in Australia; and
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.
     

The information is obtained from the occupants of selected dwellings using a combination of online collection, telephone and face-to-face interviews. Information about each household member in scope of the LFS is generally collected from one adult member of the household. Coverage rules are applied to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection.

With the online LFS, every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of the questionnaire. Where necessary, the online LFS questionnaire includes additional information to assist respondents in completing the questions accurately to be consistent with data collected by interviewers.

Interviewers receive training in interviewing practices and techniques, and are required to ask questions exactly as they appear on the LFS questionnaire, in order to ensure consistency of approach in all interviews.

Interviewers are also instructed as to the significance of the questions in relation to the objectives of the survey so that they can explain concepts to respondents to help them relate the questions to their particular circumstances. This training equips interviewers to obtain the cooperation of respondents, and to collect objective, accurate responses to the questions.

1 The ABS plans to release Labour Force, Australia: Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families (cat. no. 6224.0.55.001) again in 2015.

Definitions used in the Labour Force Survey

The labour force framework

The labour force framework classifies the in-scope population according to their labour force status (that is, employed, unemployed, or not in the labour force). The employed and unemployed categories together make up the labour force, which gives a measure of the number of persons contributing to, or willing to contribute to, the supply of labour at the time of the survey.

Labour force definitions used by the ABS align closely with international standards and guidelines as specified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The definitions of employed, unemployed and not in the labour force used by the ABS are outlined below. More detailed concepts and definitions may be obtained from Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

Employed

Employed persons are those aged 15 years and over who, during the reference week:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers); or
  • worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
  • were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
     
    • away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; or
    • away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week; or
    • away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement; or
    • on strike or locked out; or
    • on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job; or
       
  • were employers or own account workers, who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.
     

Unemployed

Unemployed persons are those aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the reference week, and:

  • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week; or
  • were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week, and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.
     

Not in the labour force

Persons not in the labour force are those aged 15 years and over who are neither employed nor unemployed. Those not in the labour force include persons who are:

  • retired or voluntarily inactive;
  • performing home duties or caring for children;
  • attending an educational institution;
  • experiencing a long-term health condition or disability;
  • experiencing a short-term illness or injury;
  • looking after an ill or disabled person;
  • on a travel, holiday or leisure activity;
  • working in an unpaid voluntary job;
  • in institutions (hospitals, jails, sanatoriums, etc.);
  • permanently unable to work; and
  • members of contemplative religious orders.

The Labour Force Survey questionnaire

Overview

The questionnaire discussed in this paper is that used in almost all Labour Force Survey (LFS) telephone and face to face interviews. An online version of this questionnaire is also used. However, other survey forms are used in special circumstances. A paper self-enumeration form may be used where it is not possible for an interview to take place — for instance, where contact cannot be made with the occupants of selected dwellings or when a respondent refuses to be interviewed but will complete a form. A customised form is also used for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in sparsely settled areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities when interviewers encounter significant cultural and language difficulties, or when other operational difficulties occur such as the availability of suitably trained and skilled interviewers.

Historical questionnaire developments

Since the inception of the LFS in 1960, the survey questionnaire has undergone a number of developments. These developments have been required to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of the collection. However, to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to the questionnaire have been infrequent. Recent significant questionnaire developments are described below with a summary of the major questionnaire changes included in the Appendix. A detailed history of changes to the LFS questionnaire and the survey methodology is documented in Chapter 20 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

The current questionnaire - implemented in July 2014

The current questionnaire, implemented in July 2014, is available from the Survey material section.

Changes to the questionnaire introduced from July 2014 will improve the conceptual robustness and relevance of the survey and result in more information being available with key measures released more frequently.

The main improvements made to the monthly LFS questionnaire are summarised below:

  1. All people not employed are asked both questions “looking for full-time work” and “looking for part-time work”. Previously those answering ‘Yes’ to “looking for full time work” were not asked about looking for part-time work;
  2. Addition of a question on number of jobs or businesses held by employed people;
  3. An additional category (unpaid trainee work) added to the questions used to derive status in employment. This enables unpaid trainee work to be excluded from employment. In addition, persons who are paid commission without a retainer are now considered to be employees. They were previously considered as owner managers;
  4. Addition of a question on usual hours in main job for multiple job holders regardless of whether at work or away from work;
  5. Some changes to response categories for reasons actually worked fewer hours than usual, reasons away from work and period away from work;
  6. Improvements to underemployment statistics including the addition of questions on the willingness and availability of persons to work additional hours and asking all who worked fewer than their usual hours the reason. These questions were previously asked quarterly and applied to a subset of those who worked part-time. Further, a new question for all employed people who would like to work more hours than they usually work, asking about number of hours they would like to work. This question about the preference for more hours now also refers to "in all jobs' for multiple job holders;
  7. Addition of a question asking hours of work sought by people looking for work and addition of a question asking additional hours sought by underemployed persons;
  8. Addition of two active job search steps "had an interview with an employer for work", "taken steps to purchase or start your own business" and a change to the step "checked with or registered with an employment agency" to "checked or registered with a Job Services Australia provider";
  9. Two job search steps ("checked notice board" and "been registered with Centrelink as a job seeker") treated as passive instead of active job search steps;
  10. The question asked of people not employed and actively looking for work in the reference week was changed to “how soon could start work” to provide additional detail. The previous question was “if available to start in the next four weeks”;
  11. The duration of unemployment question changed to ask when a person last worked. The previous questionnaire asked about a period of work of two weeks or more. (This change does not impact on the number of people employed or unemployed.);
  12. The question on main reason stopped working in last job of unemployed persons now asks for "all the reasons stopped working";
  13. Removal of duration of unemployment since last full-time job. This was retained as an interim measure after the 2001 questionnaire and is therefore redundant. As a result the questionnaire can no longer identify people looking for their first full-time job; and
  14. Education participation is asked of all persons. This was previously only asked of persons aged 15–24. People are now asked "Are you currently a full-time or part-time student at a TAFE, university or other educational institution?" Previously only data on full-time students was captured. Level and field of educational attainment is collected monthly from all people aged 15 years and over.
     

The main improvements made to the quarterly LFS questionnaire are summarised below:

  1. Removal of job search steps for the underemployed;
  2. Addition of questions on leave entitlements (entitlement to paid holiday and/or paid sick leave);
  3. For employed persons with their employer for more than 12 months, additional questions on how many years they have been with their employer;
  4. Additional response categories for the question on reason expected to finish work; and
  5. Addition of questions on number of jobs left and all reasons left in the last three months as well as some changes to the categories of reasons.


For further information, refer to Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics (cat. no. 6292.0).

Online collection

From December 2012 to April 2013, the ABS conducted a trial of online electronic data collection. Respondents in one rotation group (i.e. one-eighth of the survey sample) were offered the option of self completing their labour force survey questionnaire online instead of via a face-to-face or telephone interview. From May 2013, the ABS expanded the offer of online electronic collection to 50% of each new incoming rotation group. For more information see the article in the April 2013 issue of Labour Force, Australia, (cat. no. 6202.0). From September 2013, online electronic collection has been offered to 100% of private dwellings in each incoming rotation group. From April 2014, 100% of private dwellings are being offered online electronic collection.

Computer assisted interviewing

Between October 2003 and August 2004 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) progressively implemented computer assisted interviewing (CAI) into the LFS. Under CAI, interviewers record responses directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a laptop computer. Previously, survey responses were recorded onto a paper questionnaire.

To reduce the potential impact on survey estimates, CAI was introduced with minimal change to the LFS questionnaire and processes. The use of CAI results in significant benefits over pen and paper, such as applying edit checks during the interview to improve data quality and automating the sequencing.

Guidelines for following the Labour Force Survey questionnaire

Overview

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) questionnaire may appear formidable if simply read through from beginning to end. However, only a subset of the questions are asked of each person. The sequencing built into the questionnaire ensures that only questions appropriate to each person's labour force experience are asked. People who complete the questionnaire online are only asked questions applicable to them based on their answers to previous questions.

Sequencing through the questionnaire is identified by the To question column of the attached questionnaire as well as sequence guides. Sequence guides are referenced throughout the questionnaire and can be identified with the prefix of SG (for example: see SG15 of the questionnaire).

The questionnaire, available from the Survey material section, is used for all months of the year. The months February, May, August and November are known as quarter months and sequencing for the quarter months is different to non-quarter months (see SG15 of the attached questionnaire). Additional information collected in quarter months includes:

  • Employed persons:
    • industry and occupation (questions 75—77);
    • leave entitlements (questions 78—79);
    • job tenure (questions 80—84); and
    • retrenchment (questions 108—110);
       
  • Unemployed persons:
    • industry and occupation of last job (questions 99—101); and
    • retrenchment (questions 105—107);
       
  • Persons not in the labour force:
    • retrenchment (questions 105—107).
       

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) questionnaire numbers are not in sequential order. This allows for future changes to the LFS questionnaire without having to reorder the entire questionnaire.

In the February, May and August months, supplementary survey questions are attached to the main labour force questionnaire. When all of the appropriate labour force questions have been asked in relation to a householder, the interview is sequenced to the supplementary survey questions if the householder is in the relevant target population.

Each month, a selected householder from each household in the outgoing rotation group is asked additional questions as part of the Multi Purpose Household Survey. These questions are asked after the Labour Force questions have been completed for all members of the household.

Questions 1 - 18

These questions comprise the Household form and collect demographic and survey control information. Please note that the Household form (questions 1—18) is not included in the attached LFS questionnaire.

Questions 19 - 25

Filter questions to identify those most likely to be employed (people who respond 'yes' to questions 19–21), to identify those most likely to be unemployed (people who answer 'yes' to questions 22–25), and to determine the majority of persons not in the labour force.

Questions 26 - 84

Identify employed persons and obtain information on employment characteristics, including actual and usual hours worked, underemployment, occupation and industry, leave entitlements and job tenure.

Questions 85 - 102

Identify unemployed persons and obtain information on unemployment related characteristics, including duration of job search, occupation, industry and reasons for leaving last job.

Questions 105 - 110

Identify all people who have left or lost a job in the last three months and the reasons for leaving their job, to provide information on retrenchments.

Questions 111 - 121

Identify people's educational qualification and determine their current study status. i.e. whether currently studying full-time, part-time or not at all. These questions are only asked of a respondent once during their time first month in the survey, unless their responses indicate that a person has changed their educational qualifications.

Identifying labour force status

Labour force status is derived by asking a series of questions about a person's work related activities in the reference period. Some guidelines for identifying labour force status from the current questionnaire are provided below.

Identifying employed persons from the questionnaire

Persons who respond (in questions 19 to 21) that they worked in a job, business or farm, or in a family business without pay, or that they had a job they were away from in the reference week, are sequenced to further questions that confirm their status as employed. Although people will be sequenced through various question paths as applicable to their labour force experience, employed people can be identified from the questionnaire when one of the following conditions is met:

  • the person worked in a job, business or farm, or in a family business without pay, for one hour or more in the reference week, as reported in question 46; or
  • the person was away from work during the reference week (or worked less than one hour during the reference week), but maintained job attachment in the reference week (see employed definition), and usually works one hour or more, as determined in question 69B.
     

Identifying unemployed persons from the questionnaire

Persons who did not have a job but had been looking for work in the four weeks to the end of the reference week (as reported in questions 22 and 23), and people who, although they report that they have a job, fail to satisfy the employed criteria as specified above, are sequenced to further questions to determine if they are unemployed. In order for a person to be classified as unemployed, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • the person took an active step to find work in the four weeks to the end of the reference week, that is, they answer 'yes' to one of question 88 A to C, F, G or H (1 to 2), and the person was available to start work in the reference week (including 'Don't know' responses), determined by question 89; or
  • the person was waiting to start a job they had already obtained, as reported in question 24, 90 or 93; and would be starting that work within four weeks, as reported in question 91 or 94; and could have started in the reference week if the work had been available then, as reported in question 95.
     

Identifying persons not in the labour force from the questionnaire

Most people not in the labour force are identified at the beginning of the questionnaire, so that they are not asked questions that do not apply to them. These people are identified in the questionnaire as follows:

  • institutionalised persons and boarding school pupils as identified in question 6 of the Household Form. These people are part of the broader Special Dwelling sample for which separate collection arrangements apply; or
  • persons permanently unable to work as identified in question 19; or
  • persons aged 65 years or over who respond that they are permanently not intending to work in questions 19 to 23; or
  • persons who did not do any work in the reference week, and were not away from a job in the reference week, and had not looked for any work in the four weeks to the end of the reference week, and were not waiting to start a job they had already obtained. These people answer 'no' to questions 19 to 24.
     

The balance of people who are not in the labour force are identified later in the questionnaire, if they have failed to meet all the criteria to be classified as either employed or unemployed. Specifically:

  • persons identified in the filter questions (19 to 23) as likely to be employed or unemployed, but not confirmed by further questions; and not waiting to start a job they had already obtained, as reported in question 93.
  • persons waiting to start a job they had already obtained, but not within the next four weeks, at question 91 or 94.
  • persons waiting to start a job they had already obtained and would be starting that work within four weeks, but could not have started in the reference week if the work has been available then, as reported in question 95.
     

Questionnaire conventions

Different type faces are used throughout the questionnaire to indicate to interviewers how the questions should be asked. The conventions used in the questionnaire are outlined below:

  • Italics are used for all information and clarification to interviewers and are not read out to respondents;
  • Round brackets '( )' are used to separate parts of the question that only need to be asked if applicable to the person, based on previous question responses;
  • Underline is used to add emphasis to particular word/s in a question; and
  • Response categories to questions are also not read out to respondents.
     

The LFS is conducted on the basis that any responsible adult (ARA) should usually be able to answer the questions on behalf of all other household members. In the questionnaire, square brackets [ ], are used to identify different wording of a question depending on whom the respondent is answering the questions of. For example, 'your/name's', 'you/him/her', may be appropriate references.

Further information

Appendix - Major changes to the Labour Force Survey

Show all

November 1960

Quarterly survey commenced.

State Capital cities only, including persons aged 14 years and over, but excluding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Sample of 1% of households Australia wide, with 1/8 rotation in private dwellings and 1/4 rotation in other dwellings.

February 1964

Quarterly national survey commenced but excluding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Capital city series continue in absence of release of national series. Capital city estimates and population benchmarks based on 1961 Census of the Commonwealth of Australia data.

August 1966

Scope of survey population reduced to persons aged 15 years and over, due to changes in the school leaving age and to conform with definitions used in the 1966 Census of Population and Housing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples included. Additional questions introduced on the steps taken to find a job by persons looking for work.

The grouping of hours worked changed to reflect recommendations from the 1961 International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

August 1967

Additional questions introduced to better identify employees of incorporated enterprises (some of whom had previously been incorrectly classified as employers or self-employed).

February 1972

Questions seeking information on country of birth and year of arrival in Australia introduced.

February 1975

Persons who were not employed were asked whether they were looking for work during the previous four weeks, instead of during the previous week only (i.e. the reference week). Those who were looking for work during this period were asked whether they would have been able to take a job in the reference week had one become available.

February 1978

Monthly national survey commenced. The Labour Force Survey adopted as the official source of unemployment statistics. New questionnaire, with substantial redesign of question wording, structure and sequence to improve data quality collected on 0.5% sample. Changes included separate questions on looking for full-time/looking for part-time job; active search more clearly identified; availability and future starters better identified. Some impact on employed, main impact on unemployed seeking part-time work.

November 1981

Minor amendments made to questions which seek to determine whether or not persons reporting that they were looking for work had taken active steps to find a job during the previous four weeks. No impact on data or definitions.

October 1982

Additional questions to identify usual residence and family relationship, with marital status questions reworded and de facto relationships coded as married.

An additional response category was included to identify persons whose standard working arrangements were less than 35 hours in the reference week.

April 1986

The questionnaire was amended to reflect a revised definition of employed persons, to include persons working 1 to 14 hours without pay in a family business or farm. This revised definition aligned the Australian labour force concepts with a set of changed international definitions adopted by the 13th International Conference of Labour Statisticians in October 1982. In consequence, there was a significant break in series for employed, employed part-time, unemployed and related unemployment rates. The number of questions was also increased to accommodate additional topics, for example, persons aged 15–24 attending an educational institution full time.

November 1989

Optical Mark Recognition questionnaire design and data capture method introduced.

August 1996 To February 1997

Telephone interviewing implemented progressively. Initial impact on data dissipated by the end of the implementation period.

February 2000

Computer assisted coding introduced for industry and occupation in place of manual coding and reference to the ABS Business Register. Breaks in series for Status in employment, Industry and Occupation series.

April 2001

New questionnaire implemented to better reflect contemporary labour market developments, as well as reflecting developments in international standards and practices for collecting labour force statistics. A small number of definitions were modified and additional data items included to provide more precise, more consistent and more detailed data. New or extended information was introduced on job tenure, underemployment, hours worked, duration of unemployment, and marginal attachment to the labour force. The format of the questionnaire was improved, and the question wording updated to improve the efficiency of the survey, enhance the quality of the data collected, and reflect current terminology or labour market conditions.

February 2003

An additional question was added to identify underemployed workers who prefer to and are available to start extra hours within four weeks.

October 2003 to August 2004

Computer Assisted Interviewing implemented progressively. Analyses confirmed that Computer Assisted Interviewing had not materially affected aggregate estimates.

February 2004

The definition of unemployed persons was changed to include 'future starters' (persons who had not actively looked for work because they were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the survey reference week, and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then). These persons had previously been classified as not in the labour force. Historical series from April 2001 were revised to the new basis as part of the benchmark revision undertaken at the same time.

July 2011

Looking on the internet was added to looking in newspapers as a passive job search step and references to Centrelink touch screens were removed from job search steps. Job search step 'check factory noticeboards' was changed to 'checked noticeboards'

December 2012 to April 2014

From December 2012 to April 2013, the ABS conducted a trial of online electronic data collection. Respondents in one rotation group (i.e. one-eighth of the survey sample) were offered the option of self completing their labour force survey questionnaire online instead of via a face-to-face or telephone interview. From May 2013, the ABS expanded the offer of online electronic collection to 50% of each new incoming rotation group. For more information see the article in the April 2013 issue of Labour Force, Australia, (cat. no. 6202.0). From September 2013, online electronic collection has been offered to 100% of private dwellings in each incoming rotation group. From April 2014, 100% of private dwellings are being offered online electronic collection.

July 2014 to August 2014

The main improvements made to the monthly LFS questionnaire are summarised below:

  1. All people not employed are asked both questions “looking for full-time work” and “looking for part-time work”. Previously those answering ‘Yes’ to “looking for full time work” were not asked about looking for part-time work;
  2. Addition of a question on number of jobs or businesses held by employed people;
  3. An additional category (unpaid trainee work) added to the questions used to derive status in employment. This enables unpaid trainee work to be excluded from employment. In addition, persons who are paid commission without a retainer are now considered to be employees. They were previously considered as owner managers;
  4. Addition of a question on usual hours in main job for multiple job holders regardless of whether at work or away from work;
  5. Some changes to response categories for reasons actually worked fewer hours than usual, reasons away from work and period away from work;
  6. Improvements to underemployment statistics including the addition of questions on the willingness and availability of persons to work additional hours and asking all who worked fewer than their usual hours the reason. These questions were previously asked quarterly and applied to a subset of those who worked part-time. Further, a new question for all employed people who would like to work more hours than they usually work, asking about number of hours they would like to work. This question about the preference for more hours now also refers to "in all jobs' for multiple job holders;
  7. Addition of a question asking hours of work sought by people looking for work and addition of a question asking additional hours sought by underemployed persons;
  8. Addition of two active job search steps "had an interview with an employer for work", "taken steps to purchase or start your own business" and a change to the step "checked with or registered with an employment agency" to "checked or registered with a Job Services Australia provider";
  9. Two job search steps ("checked notice board" and "been registered with Centrelink as a job seeker") treated as passive instead of active job search steps;
  10. The question asked of people not employed and actively looking for work in the reference week was changed to “how soon could start work” to provide additional detail. The previous question was “if available to start in the next four weeks”;
  11. The duration of unemployment question changed to ask when a person last worked. The previous questionnaire asked about a period of work of two weeks or more. (This change does not impact on the number of people employed or unemployed.);
  12. The question on main reason stopped working in last job of unemployed persons now asks for "all the reasons stopped working";
  13. Removal of duration of unemployment since last full-time job. This was retained as an interim measure after the 2001 questionnaire and is therefore redundant. As a result the questionnaire can no longer identify people looking for their first full-time job; and
  14. Education participation is asked of all persons. This was previously only asked of persons aged 15–24. People are now asked "Are you currently a full-time or part-time student at a TAFE, university or other educational institution?" Previously only data on full-time students was captured. Level and field of educational attainment is collected monthly from all people aged 15 years and over.
     

The main improvements made to the quarterly LFS questionnaire are summarised below:

  1. Removal of job search steps for the underemployed;
  2. Addition of questions on leave entitlements (entitlement to paid holiday and/or paid sick leave);
  3. For employed persons with their employer for more than 12 months, additional questions on how many years they have been with their employer;
  4. Additional response categories for the question on reason expected to finish work; and
  5. Addition of questions on number of jobs left and all reasons left in the last three months as well as some changes to the categories of reasons.
     

Further information about the changes introduced in July 2014 to August 2014 can be found in the Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics (cat. no. 6292.0)

Survey material

Sample Labour Force Survey questionnaire