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The service industries sector is the largest component of the Australian economy in terms of number of businesses, employment and gross value added (GVA).
The largest contributor to the service industries sector in 2002-03 was the property and business services industry, which accounted for 18% of the total GVA of industries in the sector and 12% of the total GVA of all industries. The next largest contributor within the service industries sector was finance and insurance services, which accounted for 13% of the total GVA of the sector.
In the five-year period 1997-98 to 2002-03 the total GVA of industries in the services sector (in chain volume terms) increased by an average annual rate of 4%, while that of industries in the goods-producing sector recorded an average annual growth rate of 2%.
Within the service industries sector, the finance and insurance services industry recorded the largest percentage increase in GVA over the five-year period 1997-98 to 2002-03 (31%), or an average annual growth rate of 6%. The next largest growth rate was recorded by the communications industry, with a 29% increase over the five-year period, or an average annual growth rate of 6%. The smallest growth in industry GVA in the service industries sector over the five-year period was that of the education industry, with an increase of 9%.
In terms of employment, the service industries sector accounted for 75% of total employment for all industries in 2003-04 (table 20.2). Total employment in the service industries sector in 2003-04 was 7,135,000 persons.
In the five-year period 1998-99 to 2003-04, employment in the service industries increased by 772,100 persons or 12%, representing an average annual growth rate of 2%. In the same period the goods-producing industries recorded an increase in employment of 114,400 persons. This represented an increase of 5% and an average annual growth rate of just over 1%.
Within the service industries sector, the major employing industry was retail trade with employment in 2003-04 of 1,439,200 persons, accounting for 15% of all employment and 20% of total employment in the sector. Other large employing service industries were property and business services (1,119,800 persons), health and community services (955,300 persons), and education (698,400 persons).
The service industries showing the greatest employment growth in the five-year period since 1998-99 were government administration and defence, with a 29% increase from 346,400 persons to 445,300 persons, property and business services with an increase of 18% in the period, and health and community services with an increase of 17%. The transport and storage sector showed the smallest increase over the period of 6%, while the wholesale trade sector recorded a decrease of 12%.