Sleeping rough on the streets of Adelaide, Aimee Rose didn’t feel like she counted for anything. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), it seems, was inclined to agree with her. Despite being jobless and periodically homeless for most of her teenage years, Rose did not meet the official definition of what it is to be unemployed. Deduced from the monthly Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate represents only the percentage of people “actively” looking for a job in the four weeks leading up to the reference week, and who are available to start work that same week.
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“Possibly it’s because Australia is smaller than the US or even UK so the stats are more volatile but that’s not enough to explain it.”