Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation Methodology

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    Nowcasting is an emerging methodology using traditional, real–time and big data techniques—such as machine learning—to estimate current trends within a short timeframe after the data is available, more frequently and with increased detail.

    Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation (NERO) applies nowcasting methodologies to estimate employment by occupation at the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) 4-digit level and Statistical Area 4 (SA4) region.  

    Jobs and Skills Australia's (JSA) nowcasting employment estimates are subject to revision and given the data’s experimental nature and large number of series predicted by the model some estimates may be volatile and subject to error. Caution should be exercised when using NERO data particularly for smaller series and where large movements in the estimates are observed.

    Estimates produced by Jobs and Skills Australia are consistent with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey (LFS) data including estimates for total employment by SA4 region and employment by occupation at the 4–digit level. Differences between LFS and NERO estimates may emerge at aggregate levels due to smoothing and analytical techniques applied as part of the Jobs and Skills Australia’s modelling process. Any differences are coincidental and should not be interpreted as a differing view of the underlying trends or estimates of employment for those series.


    Supervised machine learning techniques including random forest, gradient boosting and linear regressions were used to train models to find patterns that can be used to predict the now. Model variations were tested and combined into a stacked model.

    Modelling inputs data sources

    • ABS, Labour Force Survey, Total Employment by Region
    • ABS, Labour Force Survey, Occupational Employment
    • ABS, Census, Occupational Employment by Region
    • ABS, Weekly Payroll, Jobs by Industry and Region
    • ABS, National Accounts, Gross State Product
    • DEWR, Workforce Australia, Job Placements by Occupation and Region
    • Home Affairs, Skilled Visa, holders by Occupation and State/Territory
    • Jobs and Skills Australia, Internet Vacancy Index, Online Job Advertisements by Region and Occupation
    • Lightcast, Online job advertisements, by Region and Occupation.

    Regional estimates of employed persons are based on the location of residence of the individual (where employed persons primarily live) rather than the location of business which is consistent with the ABS Labour Force Survey methodology.

    A minimum of 10 counts has been applied to all series to preserve privacy as there may not always be at least 10 people employed in each occupation in a region.

    Defence related occupations at the ANZSCO 4–digit level have been excluded from these nowcasting estimates include:

    • 1391—Commissioned Officers (Management)
    • 1392—Senior Non–commissioned Defence Force Members
    • 4411—Defence Force Members—Other ranks.

    Read the Nowcasting the Australian Labour Market at Disaggregated Levels paper for a more comprehensive and detailed analysis of Jobs and Skills Australia's nowcasting process.

    NERO version 2

    NERO version 2, released on 5 April, improves performance by adding new data sources, updated data and modelling techniques refinements.

    Additional data sources

    • ABS, Counts of Australian Businesses, Entry and Exits by Region and Occupation
    • ABS, Census 2021, Employment by Region and Occupation
    • NCVER, VET Enrolments, Completions and Outcomes by Region and Occupation
    • Westpac, Income and Expenditure, by Region and Occupation.