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Another measure of the significance of an industry is its contribution to employment. Employment (and unemployment) data are used as social indicators by government, research and welfare organisations. Employment is also an indicator of economic activity, although turning points in the employment series tend to lag turning points in the business cycle.
The industry composition of average weekly paid hours for wage and salary earners provides an insight into the labour market. Data on this topic are derived from the biennial ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours. This survey covers all employing organisations in Australia (public and private sectors) except enterprises primarily engaged in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, private households employing staff, and foreign embassies and consulates.
Graph 13.5 shows average weekly total paid hours for full-time adult non-managerial employees by industry in May 2002 compared with the average for all industries in the period (39.5 hours). Total paid hours are equal to ordinary time paid hours plus overtime paid hours. The highest average weekly paid hours for full-time adult non-managerial employees was in the mining industry (45.8 hours), followed by the transport and storage (42.0 hours) and manufacturing (41.4 hours) industries. The lowest average weekly paid hours was in the education industry (36.0 hours).
Paid overtime accounted for 3.8% of average weekly total paid hours for full-time adult non-managerial employees. The industry in which employees worked the most paid overtime was mining (12.9% of total paid hours for that industry). Paid overtime in the transport and storage, construction, and manufacturing industries accounted for 7.6%, 7.4% and 7.2% of total paid hours respectively.
Compensation of employees is both an economic and social indicator. This item includes wages and salaries (paid in cash and in kind) and employer social contributions (e.g. employers' contributions to superannuation and worker's compensation premiums). Wages and salaries in kind can include meals, housing, uniforms, and vehicles.
Graph 13.6 presents industry shares of total compensation of employees in 2002-03. These data are in current prices (i.e. they are valued at the prices of the period to which the data relate (2002-03)). In this period, total compensation of employees was $360,012m. Total wages and salaries was $325,009m (90.3% of total compensation of employees).
The property and business services industry held the largest share of total compensation of employees (14.4%), followed by the manufacturing (12.4%), health and community services (9.9%), education (8.2%) and retail trade (8.1%) industries. These industries were also in the top six labour intensive industries (along with construction) in 2001-02.