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 is an important sector of the Australian economy, contributing around 13% of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) and employment. However, despite significant increases in the value of the manufacturing industry's gross value added (by more than 30% over the past 20 years), the industry's share of Australian GDP has fallen from around 18% to its current level.
The number employed in the manufacturing industry has regained ground after dipping marginally in the middle of 2001; it stood at 1.1 million in May 2002.
This section presents a range of data about the manufacturing sector as a whole, and about broad categories of manufacturing industry. These categories are referred to as 'subdivisions'.
Some data are provided from the annual manufacturing survey, for which the latest results relate to the preliminary findings for 2000-01, while others, relating to 2001-02 in most instances, have been derived from various monthly and quarterly surveys.