Being able to measure the labour force characteristics of the population and the changes which occur over time are important from both an economic and social perspective. The ABS Labour Force Survey (LFS) and its associated supplementary surveys are the main and most important sources of information about the Australian labour force. This information is further supplemented by information obtained from the five yearly Census of Population and Housing, the various Special Social Surveys (SSSs) and employer based surveys.
Labour Force Status classifies the in-scope population into three mutually exclusive categories at a given point in time: employed; unemployed and 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 and able to contribute to, the supply of labour at that time and aligns with concepts in the System of National Accounts (SNA). The third category not in the labour force represents the balance of the in-scope population.
Definitions used by the ABS align closely with international standards and guidelines, as described in the section on international comparability.