- The ABS defines someone as being employed if they work one hour a week.
- While this in line with international standards, people keep hating on the ABS for doing so.
- The ABS has decided to push back against the doubters.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) wants people to stop hating on it for defining people as being employed when they only work one hour a week.
In a press statement, ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman has attempted to fight back against the haters.
“While on face value one hour may seem like a low threshold, it is important in counting everyone who is involved in production activities in the economy,” Hockman said.
“It is a measure of who is employed, not how fully employed people are, which is covered by other measures.”
Hockman said it was important to note that only around one in 1,000 employed people typically work for just one hour per week, with 97% of the employed labour force working more than seven hours per week.
He made the point that the employment and unemployment rate “cannot highlight whether people want more work, what their earnings are, and what employment conditions they are entitled to”.
“No single labour market measure can answer every question, which is why the ABS releases such a broad range of information throughout the year,” he said.
“In combination, these provide a greater understanding of Australia’s labour market.”
The ABS definition of who is and isn’t deemed employed can be found here.
Importantly, the definition used in the ABS Labour Force Survey is consistent with international guidelines.
That is, in line with the definition used in other countries.
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