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How key HLFS series are affected by the rebase

This section outlines the effects of the rebase on our national-level labour force estimates, including by age group and sex.

The working-age population has been revised downwards from the September 2006 quarter onwards, with the gap between the original and revised series widening over time. As regional benchmarks do not affect the overall working-age population there is no significant difference between the old and revised working-age population before the September 2006 quarter.

Figure 1

Graph, Working-age population, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, March 1986 to December 2014.  

The smaller working-age population has affected the estimates for other key series, particularly in the numbers of people employed, in the labour force, and not in the labour force. The rebase had very little effect on the unemployed series.

Similar to the shift in the working-age population, the number of people employed was revised downwards. This is mostly due to the rebase rather than the introduction of regional benchmarks, so there is minimal change before September 2006.

Figure 2

Graph, Employed, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, March 1986 to December 2014.

The population rebase also resulted in a decrease in the number of people not in the labour force. However, this shift is small due to a slight upward effect from introducing the regional benchmarks.

Figure 3

Graph, Not in the labour force, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, March 1986 to December 2014.

While the working-age population decreased for both men and women, the revision was considerably larger for men. Similarly, decreases in the number of people employed, and not in the labour force, consisted of larger decreases in the number of men than women. There was relatively little change in the number of men and women unemployed. The overall movements from quarter to quarter for both men and women were largely unchanged.

Figure 4

Graph, Male working-age population, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, March 1986 to December 2014.

Figure 5

Graph, Female working-age population, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, March 1986 to December 2014.

The revisions also affected some age groups more than others.

  • The working-age population for 15 to 19-year-olds was revised downwards from 2006 to 2011, then revised upwards from 2012 onwards.
  • Both the working-age population and the number of people employed were revised downwards for people aged 20 to 34 years, and revised upwards for those aged 35 to 49 years.
  • There was minimal change to estimations for the 50+ age group.

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