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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1578

Mr Barnard asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

What has been the estimate of unemployment based on the survey carried out by the Bureau of Census and Statistics in the months of February, May, August, and November, expressed as a percentage of the figure for unemployment obtained from records kept by the Commonwealth Employment Service for each of these months during the last 5 years.

Mr Lynch - The answer to the honourable member's question is given by the following table:


In interpreting these figures, it should be noted that there are important differences in coverage and definition between the C.E.S. and CB.C.S. series on unemployed.

Firstly, the Statistician's quarterly surveys relate to the whole of the population and work force aged 15 years and over, whereas C.E.S. statistics cover only persons who voluntarily present themselves at District Employment Offices.

Secondly, the C.E.S. excludes from its count of the unemployed, those persons seeking only parttime work, as well as students and others seeking only casual temporary employment. Such persons are included in the Statistician's statistics of unemployed. This explains most of the divergence between the 2 series, as is evident from the following Table 2 which compares the C.E.S. figures with Commonwealth Statistician's figures of persons looking for full-time work*.


Thirdly, the Statistician classifies as unemployed some persons not actively seeking work at the time of the survey. For example, it includes among the unemployed those persons who would have looked for work if they had not been temporarily ill or believed no work was available.

There are also differences arising from the method of collection of the statistics. For example, in the case of the C.E.S. statistics there is an unavoidable time lag in confirming placements and in lapsing the registration of persons who have secured employment on their own initiative. Again the C.E.S. count of unemployed persons is made on a particular day whereas the C.B.C.S. method determines the extent of unemployment on the basis of the respondent's activities during the week preceding that in which the interview takes place.

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