Finance Finance News ABS rejigs unemployment measurement

ABS rejigs unemployment measurement

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics has began a revamp of its unemployment data collection after a review that recommended 16 technical changes to the methodology.

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Two have already been implemented and relate to changes to the way figures are seasonally adjusted.

A further 14 changes are scheduled for adoption in coming months.

The review, conducted by a former ABS and World Bank employee, was triggered by an outbreak of unexplained volatility in the jobs figures over July and August.

The resulting large revisions to the July and August unemployment numbers by the ABS prompted widespread scepticism among economists about the usefulness of the figures.

In line with another recommendation, the ABS says it has changed its procedures so that if such a problem crops up again, changes to survey procedures will automatically be considered as a possible cause.

November jobs figures will be released on Thursday, and the bureau said no changes will be made to those numbers in light of the review’s recommendations.

“There will not be any further refinements to the methodology applied to the Labour Force estimates until the annual seasonal reanalysis is undertaken in early 2015,” the bureau said.