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.
The manufacturing industry contributed around 11% to Australia's gross domestic product in 2002-03. Although the value of the manufacturing industry's gross value added has grown by more than 30% over the past 20 years, the industry's share of the total production of goods and services in the economy has fallen from around 18% to its current level over the period.
In May 2004 there were almost 1.1 million people working in the manufacturing industry (including both full-time and part-time workers). This represented 11% of total employed persons. The majority of those employed within the manufacturing industry were full-time (88%) and male (74%).
The manufacturing industry also dominates Australia's merchandise exports, accounting for 57% of the value of exports by industry of origin in 2003-04.
This chapter contains an article Australia's automotive industry.