1136.0 - A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009  
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Annual Economy Wide Surveys
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Sydney
Telephone (02) 9268 4269


The Economic Activity Survey (EAS) is the survey vehicle for collecting annual industry information about the operation and financial performance of all businesses in the public trading and private employing sectors of the Australian economy. The core outputs provide key measures of the health and performance of nearly all Australian industries and are used by analysts in both the private and public sectors. The questions asked on the survey form are designed to align, where possible, with standard financial accounts such as profit & loss statements.

The general purposes of the EAS is to:

  • provide data which feeds into Supply-Use benchmarks and Input-Output tables used by National Accounts (EAS is used as an annual benchmark of economic activity in the compilation of the National Accounts);
  • measure actual changes in the operation, structure and performance of all private and public trading enterprises;
  • provide "economic indicator" statistics which monitor the economy in regard to the business cycle; and
  • provide a convenient vehicle to collect more detailed or specific information in certain areas (by adding questions or enhancing the sample).


As from 2006-07, industry estimates are collected and published in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0).

The scope of EAS covers all business entities in the Australian economy, except for ANZSIC Division K and O (Financial and insurance services; Public Administration and Safety); and, in most industries, entities classified to SISCA Sector 3, General Government. Because the activity estimates relate only to private businesses, this exclusion particularly affects data available for ANZSIC Divisions P and Q (Education and Training; Health Care and Social Assistance). Full 'Scope and Coverage' detail is in the Explanatory Notes of Australian Industry.

Reference Period

Financial year

Frequency of Collection


Method of collection

The ABS Economic Activity Survey (EAS) collects financial statement data from selected businesses, sampled from the businesses listed on the ABS Business Register. The EAS collection is an integrated collection and where possible uses standard classifications (eg. ANZSIC for industry) and data item definitions. This makes data comparable across collections. This is particularly important for the EAS as data are imported from the Mining, Manufacturing and Service Industry collections.

Businesses are selected to participate in the survey (the direct collect sample) only if they met two criteria: their turnover exceeded a threshold level and the business was identified as having been an employing business (based on ATO information) during the reference period. Turnover thresholds are set for each ANZSIC class so that the contribution of surveyed businesses accounts for 97.5% of total industry class turnover as determined by ATO Business Activity Statement (BAS) data.

Businesses which meet neither of these criteria are referred to as 'micro non-employing businesses'. These businesses are not eligible for selection in the sample. For these units, BAS data are obtained and annualised, then added to the directly collected estimates to produce industry statistics.


Release schedule

Results are published during the financial year following the reference financial year. The ABS aims to publish EAS estimates no later than 18 months after the end of the reference period.


Australian Industry (ABS cat. no. 8155.0)


Data are published for Australia and the states and territories. More detailed 'industry performance' data are available only at the Australia level.

Data Service

More detailed data can be downloaded under
Australian Industry, as 'data cubes' under the 'Download' tab.

Other information

Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (ABS cat. no. 1292.0)


Number estimates
Employment ('000 persons) - withdrawn for 2006-07
Operating businesses (number) - withdrawn for 2006-07

Financial estimates ($ million)
Wages and salaries
Sales and service income
Total income
Total expenses
Operating profit before tax
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation

Industry performance measures (ratio)
Profit margin
Interest coverage
Investment rate

Australian System of National Accounts measures ($ million)
Gross fixed capital formation
Capital expenditure
Disposals of assets
Net capital expenditure
Industry value added
Funding from government for operational costs
Capital work done for own use
Change in inventories
Purchases of goods and materials
Other intermediate expenses

Selected summary measures from financial statements, defined under business accounting conventions, are also published.

Historical data

The EAS collection was first conducted in 1989/90 as a pilot test, using a sample of about 600 units. In 1990/91, it was expanded to a full dress rehearsal, with a sample of around 8,000 units. Estimates for 1990/91 were considered for publication, but were held over until 1991/92 estimates were also available. The earliest data available for download from the ABS website is from 1996-97. With the introduction of The New Tax System (TNTS), 2001-02 saw a major change to the EAS collection adopting new statistical infrastructure and a new statistical units model based on the Australian Business Number (ABN) for businesses with simple structures and the Type of Activity Unit (TAU) for businesses with complex structures. It was not until 2006-07 that another significant change was made to the collection whereby ANZSIC2006 was introduced together with generalised regression as the new estimation method for sampled units, and supplemented with ATO business activity statement (BAS) for micro non-employing businesses.