Work and labour force status (information about this variable and its quality)

Description

Work and labour force status classifies a person aged 15 years and over by their inclusion in or exclusion from the labour force. For an employed person, it distinguishes between full-time employment (30 hours or more per week) or part-time employment (fewer than 30 hours per week). A person who was not employed is classified as either 'unemployed' or 'not in the labour force'.

Note that the definitions of 'employed', 'unemployed', and 'not in the labour force' are based on those of the International Labour Organization, as set down at the 13th International Conference of Labour Statisticians, 1982.

Statistics

Representation

Variable Details

Other Variable Information

The Work and labour force status variable has changed from moderate quality to high quality.

The ratings for the consistency and coherence and data quality metrics have changed from moderate to high quality. This has resulted in an overall quality rating increase from moderate to high for the work and labour force status variable. Data quality processes section (consistency and coherence, and data quality subsections) has more information.

Work and labour force status is derived from the following input variables:

  • job indicator
  • hours worked
  • seeking work
  • job search methods
  • availability for work.

Priority level

Priority level 2

We assign a priority level to all census variables: Priority 1, 2, or 3 (with 1 being highest and 3 being the lowest priority).

Work and labour force status is a priority 2 variable. Priority 2 variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation, or monitoring. These variables are given second priority in terms of quality, time, and resources across all phases of a census.

The census priority level for Work and labour force status remains the same as 2013.

Quality Management Strategy and the Information by variable for Work and Labour Force Status (2013) have more information on the priority rating.

Overall quality rating for 2018 Census

High quality

Data quality processes section below has more detail on the rating for this variable.

The External Data Quality Panel has provided an independent assessment of the quality of this variable and has rated it as moderate quality. 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel: Assessment of Variables has more information.

Subject population

Census usually resident population aged 15 years and over.

‘Subject population’ means the people, families, households, or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

How this data is classified

Census Work and Labour Force Status V1.0.0

Work and Labour Force Status is a flat classification with the following categories:

1 Employed full-time

2 Employed part-time

3 Unemployed

4 Not in the labour force

9 Work and Labour force status unidentifiable

Employed

A person was employed if they were part of the working-age population (15 years and over) and if, during the week ended 4 March 2018, they:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment, or
  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work that contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business, or professional practice owned or operated by a relative, or
  • had a job but were not at work due to:
    • their illness or injury
    • personal or family responsibilities
    • bad weather or mechanical breakdown
    • direct involvement in an industrial dispute
    • being on leave or holiday.

Full-time employment means usually working 30 or more hours per week.

Part-time employment means usually working fewer than 30 hours per week.

Unemployed

Unemployed means any person in the working-age population (15 years and over) who, during the week ended 4 March 2018, was without a paid job but was available for work, and had actively sought work in the four weeks ended 4 March 2018.

If a person’s only job search method was looking at job advertisements, then they are not considered to be actively seeking work.

Not in the labour force

Not in the labour force means any person of working age (15 years and over) who was neither employed nor unemployed. This category is made up of people who were not actively seeking work, or not available for work. Examples are people who:

  • are retired
  • have personal or family responsibilities, such as unpaid housework and childcare
  • attend educational institutions
  • are permanently unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities.

The Standards and Classifications page provides background information on classifications and standards.

Question format

Work and labour force status is derived from the ‘job indicator’, ‘hours worked’, ‘seeking work’, ‘job search methods’ and ‘availability for work’ questions on the individual form (questions 36, 37 and 46-48 on the paper form).

Stats NZ Store House has samples for both the individual and dwelling paper forms.

There were no differences between the wording or question format in the online and paper versions of the questions listed above. However, there were differences in the way a person could respond between the modes of collection (online and paper forms):

On the online form:

  • built-in routing functionality directed individuals to the appropriate questions based on employment and unemployment, for example if a person saw the hours worked per week question and additional employment questions they would have:
    • already answered that they were in employment to the job indicator question
    • had a New Zealand address
    • been aged 15 years or over.

Otherwise, a person in the subject population who is not employed would be directed to the ‘seeking work’ question. A person would only see ‘job search methods’ and ‘available for work’ if they selected ‘yes’ to the ‘seeking work’ question.

On the paper form:

  • respondents were directed to the appropriate questions with ‘go to’ guidance printed next to the possible responses. However, it was still possible for individuals to provide responses to the questions that were not applicable to them.

Consistency edits across the input variables were applied where there were multiple or inconsistent responses to a question on paper forms (either through scanning errors or respondent errors). For example, if a person had answered both employment and unemployment questions, their response to the job indicator (question 46) was coded to ‘yes’, providing at least two of the employment questions were answered.

However, work and labour force status derived from the online forms may still be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms.

How this data is used

Outside Stats NZ

A variety of organisations, from central and local government to research institutions, community groups and businesses use work and labour force status to:

  • analyse the labour market position of population groups and small geographic areas
  • analyse occupation and industry composition, the size and characteristics of the labour market, the links between income, qualifications and labour market outcomes, and measure changes over time
  • provide a broad indicator of socio-economic status
  • develop the New Zealand Deprivation Index.

Within Stats NZ

Used to generate the number of people employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force, as well as labour force participation rates, employment and unemployment rates for different subgroups in the population.

2018 data sources

We used alternative data sources for missing census responses and responses that could not be classified or did not provide the type of information asked for. Where possible, we used responses from the 2013 Census, administrative data from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), or imputation.

The table below shows the breakdown of the various data sources used for this variable.

2018 data sources for work and labour force status input variables

Job indicator – census usually resident population
aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 84.0 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 0.0 percent
Statistical imputation 16.0 percent
No information 0.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  
Hours worked – employed census usually resident population
aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 81.3 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 0.0 percent
Statistical imputation 18.7 percent
No information 0.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  
Seeking work – unemployed census usually resident population
aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 78.8 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 0.0 percent
Statistical imputation 21.2 percent
No information 0.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  
Job search methods – unemployed census usually resident population
aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 78.9 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 0.0 percent
Statistical imputation 21.1 percent
No information 0.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  
Availability for work – unemployed census usually resident population
aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 78.9 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 0.0 percent
Statistical imputation 21.1 percent
No information 0.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  

The ‘no information’ percentage is where we were not able to source the applicable work and labour force status data for a person in the subject population.

Missing and residual responses

As with previous censuses, work and labour force status does not have a non-response (‘not stated’) category. The one residual category ‘Work and Labour Force Status Unidentifiable’ is zero. This is because in 2018, if a respondent did not answer a work and labour force status question that was relevant to them or did not provide the type of information asked for, a response was imputed to that question before the work and labour force status variable was derived.

In output for previous censuses, if a person in the subject population did not answer a work and labour force question that was relevant to them, their work and labour force status was imputed (rather than imputing only the one missing input variable, as we have in 2018). However, substitute records, (created when we had evidence that a person existed within a dwelling but did not complete an individual form), were not imputed and were instead coded to the residual ‘Work and Labour Force Status Unidentifiable’.

In 2018, we statistically imputed data for records created through the process of admin enumeration. The imputation rate is therefore greater in 2018 than in previous censuses due to the low response rate, the process of admin enumeration, and statistical imputation being applied to each of the input variables.

  • Imputation rate for 2018: 18.9%.
  • Work and Labour Force Status Unidentifiable for 2018: 0.0%.
  • Imputation rate for 2013: 5.5%.
  • Work and Labour Force Status Unidentifiable for 2013: 4.9 percent.
  • Imputation rate for 2006: 6.7%.
  • Work and Labour Force Status Unidentifiable for 2006: 3.4 percent.

2013 Census data user guide provides more information about non-response and imputation in the 2013 Census.

Data quality processes

Overall quality rating: High quality

Data was evaluated to assess whether it meets quality standards and is suitable for use.

Three quality metrics contributed to the overall quality rating:

  • data sources and coverage
  • consistency and coherence
  • data quality.

The lowest rated metric determines the overall quality rating.

Data quality assurance for 2018 Census provides more information on the quality rating scale.

Data sources and coverage: High quality

We have assessed the quality of all the data sources that contribute to the output for the variable. To calculate a data sources and coverage quality score for a variable, each data source is rated and multiplied by the proportion it contributes to the total output.

The rating for a valid census response is defined as 1.00. Ratings for other sources are the best estimates available of their quality relative to a census response. Each source that contributes to the output for that variable is then multiplied by the proportion it contributes to the total output. The total score then determines the metric rating according to the following range:

  • 98–100 = very high
  • 95–<98 = high
  • 90–<95 = moderate
  • 75–<90 = poor
  • <75 = very poor.

Data sourced through statistical imputation was mostly comparable to 2018 Census responses. The use of this data source alongside census responses, contributed to a score of 0.95 for the job indicator input variable. We used the job indicator score to determine the overall data sources and coverage metric for the work and labour force status variable because this is the only input variable which applies to everyone in the subject population.

Quality rating calculation table for the sources of Job indicator –
2018 census usually resident population aged 15 years and over
Source Rating Percent of total Score contribution
2018 Census form 1.00 83.95 0.84
Imputation
Donor’s 2018 Census form 0.70 16.05 0.11
No Information 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 100.00 0.95
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s) or score contributions.      

Data sources, editing, and imputation in the 2018 Census has more information on the Canadian census edit and imputation system (CANCEIS) that was used to derive donor responses.

Consistency and coherence: High quality

Work and labour force data is consistent with expectations across nearly all consistency checks, with some minor variation from expectations or benchmarks that makes sense due to real-world change or incorporation of other sources of data.

  • Data is consistent with expectations reflecting the falling unemployment rate since 2013.
  • The use of imputation for non-response and residual categories led to a break in the time series for those employed (both full-time and part-time).
  • Data for those classified as ‘not in the labour force’ was consistent with the 2006–2013 time series and expectations.

Data quality: High quality

Work and labour force status has only minor data quality issues. The quality of coding and responses within classification categories is high. Any impact of other data sources used is minor. Any issues with the variable appear in a low number of cases (typically in the low hundreds).

As for all variables with write-in values, responses derived from paper forms will be of slightly lower quality due to potential scanning issues, handwriting differences and human error. Effort has been made to check and ensure accuracy of responses where possible, including cross-variable checks for consistency within the dataset.

Recommendations for use and further information

We recommend that the use of the data can be similar to that produced in 2013.

However, when using this data you should be aware that:

  • data has been assessed to be consistent with expectations at the regional council level of geography. Some variation is possible at geographies below this level.
  • the use of imputation means there are no non-response or other residual categories for 2018. Care should therefore be taken if comparing absolute figures to previous years. We recommend comparing using proportions.

Comparisons with other data sources

The Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) is the official measure of employment and unemployment in New Zealand, but depending on the type of analysis being undertaken, it may be more appropriate to use census data. Data users are advised to familiarise themselves with the strengths and limitations of the sources before use.

Key considerations when comparing work and labour force status information from the 2018 Census with the HLFS include:

  • census is a key source of information on work and labour force status data for small areas and small populations. Many other sources do not provide detail at this level.
  • census aims to provide a work and labour force status for all usual residents aged 15 and over, while other sources such as the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) measuring the equivalent of the input variables are only based upon a subset of the population.
  • census does not ask people who are not employed whether they have a job due to start in the next four weeks. If a person was available for work but hadn't been actively seeking work (for example they had a job due to start in the next four weeks) then they would be derived as ‘not in the labour force’. In the HLFS, if a person has a job starting in the next four weeks and was available for work they would be classified as ‘unemployed’.

Contact our Information Centre for further information about using this variable

Revision Information

Currently viewing revision 11 by on 11/03/2020 3:46:52 a.m.

Revision 11 *
11/03/2020 11:39:05 p.m.
Revision 10
19/02/2020 2:59:11 a.m.
Revision 9
3/10/2019 2:16:37 a.m.
Revision 7
25/09/2019 4:39:47 a.m.
Revision 6
22/09/2019 9:53:26 p.m.

Show / Hide more...

Identifiers

DDI Agency
nz.govt.stats
DDI Id
ab229e2c-1ff2-44fc-b6be-d2479cd4e690
DDI Version
11

Download

DDI 3 Download

Select the languages to display