Manufacturing broadly relates to the physical or chemical transformation of materials or components into new products, whether the work is performed by power-driven machinery or by hand. Manufacturing covers a range of production techniques ranging from computer assisted production using robots to production of fine jewellery by hand. An article in this chapter presents some broad statistics on manufacturing outputs classified by degree of transformation.
The manufacturing industry is an important sector of the Australian economy, contributing around 12% of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) and around 13% of employment. However, despite significant increases in the value of the manufacturing industry's gross value added (by more than 25% over the past ten years), the industry's share of Australian GDP has fallen over the past 20 years from around 18% to its current level.
Similarly, employment in the manufacturing industry has fallen from around 1.1 million persons 20 years ago to 933,000 persons at June 2000.
This chapter presents a range of data about the manufacturing sector as a whole, and about broad categories of manufacturing industry. These categories are referred to as 'subdivisions'.
Some data are provided from the annual manufacturing survey, for which the latest results relate to 1999-2000, while others, also relating to 1999-2000 in most instances, have been derived from various monthly and quarterly surveys.