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Survey of persons registered with the CES

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NO. 37



The Treasurer, Mr. Phillip Lynch, commented today o n .the

preliminary results of the survey in March 1975 of persons registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service as . · *’ unemployed, released by the Statistician - this afternoon.

The Treasurer emphasised that the survey underlined the

Government's previous statements about the limitations of the . · { -

CES- statistics as a reliable measure of the level of unemployment

in Australia. . :

However,. Mr. Lynch pointed out that the figures should not,

of course, be construed to mean that the present ..level of .

unemployment in Australia gave any grounds for complacency.

Unemployment remained much higher than the Government, and the

community, would like to see. p . .

A sustainable reduction in the level of unemployment is at the

forefront of the Government's objectives. .

Its policies are directed squarely at removing the main impediment

- inflation- to achieving that objective.

This week's agreement by the Commonwealth and all State Governments

to support a voluntary incomes and prices freeze was clearly indicative of the concern of all Governments to restore a higher

level of employment. . ’


Mr Lynch pointed out that the limitations of the CES statistics,

;which were a measure of the number registered for employment rather than of unemployment, could be seen by comparing them

with the estimate of unemployment derived from the quarterly population survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics

The quarterly survey is designed specifically to measure

characteristics of the labour force and the estimates of unemployment derived therefrom are provided on the basis of

an internationally agreed definition.

In February, the latest date for which the results- of this survey, are available, the Statistician estimated that 334,800

persons were looking for employment; of these 275»100 were seeking full-time work and 59 > 600 were looking for part-time employment. .

The Treasurer noted that the number of persons registered with the CES for full-time employment at the end of February had been about 71,600 higher than the ABS quarterly survey estimate .

of those seeking full-time work in February. ·

He said that the special survey of CES registrants released today further underlined the importance of a proper appreciation

of the difference between those two series.

f ■

The special survey was based on a sample of. CES registrants

in the six State capital cities at 18 March.'

The main features of this preliminary release were:

. 70.9 per cent of respondents selected for interview

responded to the survey;

. of those, 70.2 per cent (49.8 per cent of total registrants selected) were unemployed under the internationally agreed

ABS definition;

. 22.0 per cent of respondents (15.6 per cent of registrants)

were employed under the ABS definition;


. ,a further 7.8 per cent of' respondents (5.6 -per cent of

registrants) were classified' as being not in the labour .

force. . - -

Mr. Lynch noted that of the 135,000 respondents (out of 190,400 .

registrants selected for the survey) represented in the survey,

only 94,800 were found to be unemployed under the ABS definition of unemployment. . - ■ . .

Those figures were broadly in line with the findings of earlier

surveys, such as that carried out in September 1974, and published

in a press statement issued by the Department of Employment» and

Industrieal Relations in January 19 77. _ -

The Statistician's release had identified a number of factors · *

to explain the difference between the number of CES registrants for employment and the number of unemployed under the ABS definition

That there were such factors had, of course, been recognized by

the previous Government. In answer to a parliamentary question on 19 May 1975 the then Minister for Labour and Immigration, Mr. Cameron, said:

"It is true, as the honourable gentleman states in his

question, that the Australian JBureau of Statistics survey shows that the number of people registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service is very much higher

than the number of people out of work .... The Commonwealth

Employment Service statistics have never purported to be

accurate statistics of the number of people out of work.

They have never purported to be any more than representative of the number of people who have registered for employment.

It is not illegal for a person who wishes to change his job

to hold on to the job he has, register for employment and

remain registered until he can get another job that is nearer

to his liking than the one he has already. There is nothing

to prevent a person who had 2 jobs and who has lost one of

them from registering for employment so that he can get

. /


another second job or a part-time job. That is being

done all the way through ..." ,

Canberra, A.C.T.

15 April 1977