ABS responds to Letter to Editor "Unemployment figures fall short on reality" (Australian Financial Review, 15 February 2010, pg 59)

ABS Data Known for Consistency

Australian Financial Review
Dear Sir

The Australian Bureau of Statistics upholds the quality of the full range of labour market statistics we produce despite Marcus L'Estrange's suggestion that "Unemployment figures fall short on reality" (Letters, February 15).

Headline indicators such as monthly employment and unemployment data are important contributors to the analysis of economic conditions and the methods used in Australia are consistent with international practices and standards. The strength of these measures is their consistency and relevance across different periods of the economic cycle, and in comparison with other countries.

A more comprehensive range of labour market information is produced by the ABS through the Labour Force Survey and other survey sources, including aggregate hours worked, underemployment, underutilisation, etc. These measures assist understanding of underlying issues and trends and the full range of data are relevant to both economic and social analysis.

On the matter of independence, the decision to undertake the monthly Labour Force Survey and related surveys is a matter that has been determined by successive Australian Statisticians, not by others.

Brian Pink
Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra ACT

Published 17 February 2010 (Australian Financial Review, pg 59)