This article has provided examples of how data on business owners from two different sources - Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas and the Census of Population and Housing - can be used to provide insights into a distinct group of workers in regional labour markets. This information is useful for regional planners and policy makers who seek to understand regional employment issues and support local businesses.
Business ownership can be analysed in various ways. One way is to look at the people who own and manage businesses, including owners of incorporated and unincorporated enterprises. Estimates of the number of owners of incorporated enterprises are available in Forms of Employment, Australia (cat. no. 6359.0) and in the Census. For more information about employment classifications, including the definition of self-employment and the differences between owners of incorporated and unincorporated businesses, see the Australian Status in Employment Classification (Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).
Another way is to look at the number of businesses in a region, which is available in Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2008 to Jun 2012 (cat. no. 8165.0). This source found that of the 2.1 million businesses operating in 2009-10, over 600,000 (30%) were established as sole proprietors and just over 350,000 (17%) were partnerships. While many of these are likely to be unincorporated, it should be noted that Counts of Australian Businesses includes both incorporated and unincorporated businesses, and for that reason has not been used in this article.
Australia's employment estimates are available in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). Regional labour force data are available by statistical division in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001). Regional labour force data will become available for SA4s in early 2014.
Articles on labour related topics are also regularly released in Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) and Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0). Other articles which use Census data to analyse a range of themes are available in Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012-2013 (cat. no. 2071.0).
The Perspectives on Regional Australia series provides data and analyses a range of issues that are important to regions across Australia - from the inner cities to the most remote areas. This article is part of a series looking at different aspects of human capital in regional labour markets. Other articles in the series cover such topics as the industries people in regions work in and non-school education. For more information, see the Regional Statistics Research and Information Articles page on the ABS website.