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8772.0 - Private Sector Construction Industry, Australia, 1996-97  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/01/1999   
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MAIN FINDINGS

An industry perspective
The 1996-97 Construction Industry Survey estimated there were 194,300 operating businesses in the construction industry, with total employment of 484,100. The construction trade services part of the construction industry accounted for a majority of the businesses and employment - over 80% of the number of businesses and almost three-quarters of people working in the construction industry. Despite the numerical dominance of the construction trades in terms of number of businesses and employment, the general construction part of the industry accounted for over half the total income (56%) and operating expenses (60%). Over half the assets and liabilities of the construction industry were also held in the general construction part of the industry.

Summary of performance

Selected indicators
Units
General
construction
Construction
trade services
Total
construction
Operating businesses
'000
36.3
158.0
194.3
Employment
'000
127.2
356.9
484.1
Wages and salaries
$m
3 309.5
4 870.4
8 179.8
Turnover
$m
32 628.6
25 270.2
57 898.8
Total income
$m
33 061.8
25 532.9
58 594.7
Total operating expenses
$m
31 793.3
21 604.8
53 398.1
Operating profit before tax (OPBT)
$m
1 550.3
3 914.3
5 464.6
Total assets
$m
17 392.6
8 172.4
25 565.0
Total liabilities
$m
12 061.3
4 557.8
16 619.1


A business size perspective
Businesses with employment of less than five accounted for 94% of all businesses in the construction industry, and just over two-thirds of all people working in the industry. In contrast, less than 1% of businesses had employment of 20 or more. Only 14% of people in the industry worked for businesses of this size. However, businesses with employment of less than five were less dominant in terms of total income, operating expenses and OPBT - they accounted for slightly less than half the total income and expenses, whereas businesses with employment of 20 or more accounted for almost one-third of these items. Almost three-quarters of construction industry OPBT came from businesses with employment of less than five.

Summary of performance by business employment size

Selected indicators
Units
Employment
less than 5
Employment
5 to 19
Employment
20 or more
All
businesses
Operating businesses
'000
182.0
11.1
1.2
194.3
Employment
'000
332.2
85.9
66.0
484.1
Wages and salaries
$m
3 221.7
2 309.8
2 648.3
8 179.8
Turnover
$m
27 951.2
13 713.7
16 234.0
57 898.8
Total income
$m
28 202.5
13 801.0
16 591.2
58 594.7
Total operating expenses
$m
24 123.0
13 288.0
15 987.1
53 398.1
Operating profit before tax
$m
4 066.5
616.4
781.7
5 464.6
Total assets
$m
11 330.0
3 487.8
10 747.2
25 565.0
Total liabilities
$m
6 731.7
2 344.8
7 542.6
16 619.1

Average wages and salaries per business and average income and expenses for businesses with employment of 20 or more are much higher than the industry average. The much higher number of businesses with employment of less than five result in the lower averages overall for the industry.

Business averages by business employment size

Business averages
Units
Employment
less than 5
Employment
5 to 19
Employment
20 or more
All
businesses
Employment
no.
1.8
7.8
56.3
2.5
Wages and salaries
$'000
17.7
208.6
2 258.4
42.1
Turnover
$'000
153.6
1 238.5
13 843.8
298.0
Income
$'000
154.9
1 246.3
14 148.4
301.6
Operating expenses
$'000
132.5
1 200.0
13 633.3
274.9
Profit
$'000
22.3
55.7
666.6
28.1

A State and Territory perspective
New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland dominate the construction industry in terms of total number of businesses, employment, and also in terms of the proportion of total income, expenses and OPBT.



Average employment in businesses across the construction industry Australia-wide varies only between 2.0 and 2.6 persons, with the lower average employment per business reported in the ACT and Tasmania and the higher average employment reported in Western Australia. Average income and operating expenses varied between the larger and smaller States; the lowest average income and operating expenses were reported in Tasmania with the higher levels reported in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. Despite Tasmania's lower levels of income and expenses, it reported the highest profit margin of all States and Territories at 19.9%, followed by the Northern Territory (13.5%) and Western Australia (12.5%).




The publication also reports that 35% of businesses in the construction industry use computers in their business operations, with larger businesses far more likely to use computers than smaller businesses.

Other information covered by the publication Private Sector Construction Industry, Australia includes strategies used in coping with downturns in the industry, waste management practices, as well as income, expenditure and profitability details.

These final estimates have been compiled from employing and non-employing businesses in the construction industry, due to the important role that sole operators play in this industry, while the preliminary figures released last September were based on estimates for employing businesses only.

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