This chapter starts by sketching the evolution of Australian industry from the time of settlement. It then presents an overview of the current structure and performance of the main industrial components of the Australian economy, and their relative contributions to overall economic activity, particularly in terms of production and employment. Statistics are presented at a broad industry level, generally equating to the Division level of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).
While the statistics presented in this chapter provide the basis for comparisons across industries, care should be taken when making comparisons with data in the industry-specific chapters. Differences in the frequency, scope, statistical units and methodologies of the various ABS collections used to compile the statistics will affect the degree to which comparisons can be made.
Table 13.1 shows each industry’s contribution to production and employment in the economy. Tables 13.2 to 13.5 provide more detailed indicators of economic activity by industry over the short and longer term. Each of these tables includes data covering all businesses in the economy. Table 13.6 provides the latest in a selected series of performance indicators for each industry, but its scope excludes non-employing businesses and entities in the general government sector. Tables 13.7 and 13.8 relate to number of businesses and employment by size of business.
The chapter concludes with a brief introduction to the chapters on economic issues - on Australia’s industries, on certain cross-cutting issues, and on the macroeconomic perspectives.