Quality declaration – summary
For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.
Input Output (I–O) tables are a part of the Australian national accounts. The standards governing national accounts are agreed internationally and detailed in the "System of National Accounts 2008" (SNA08). SNA08 is endorsed by the five major international economic organisations: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the World Bank and the European Commission. The complete version of SNA08 is available on–line, System of National Accounts, 2008.
The Australian national accounts differ from the recommendations in the SNA08 in certain cases where the data is not available to meet these requirements or it is not considered practical to adhere to the standards. For more information on the differences between the Australian national accounts and the SNA08 please see Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).
The I–O tables differ from SNA08 recommendations further in the treatment of non invoiced transport costs which are treated on the SNA68 basis (see explanatory notes for further information).
The annual Input Output tables are published two years after the reference period because of the need to acquire annual data from key sources, compile the Supply Use tables and then compile the I–O tables from the higher level Supply Use tables. The Product Details are released about 4-5 months after the main I–O tables.
Main I–O tables
I-O tables use a large number of data sources, which are of varying quality and frequency. These range from, for example, data on merchandise trade which is of high quality and frequency due to the complete enumeration of imports and exports recorded as part of the customs clearance process, to data on product supply or intermediate usage which may, depending on the product and industry, be based on annual or occasional ABS surveys or non–ABS sources such as ABARES and state mines department statistics.
The limitations surrounding the data sources, age of data, the availability of detailed product level supply and use data mean that to a greater or lesser extent a significant part of the detailed I–O data is extrapolated from previous information. These estimates are then confronted, reallocated and balanced against other cells within the I–O table framework, with more credence being given to some data sources over others.
These processes result in individual components being modelled and adjusted, and this is particularly true for those with relatively small values.
Users should therefore be cautious when considering isolated fragments of the tables, especially details at the product level and or when looking at the supply or use of products that may be related to an activity or industry but are being analysed outside the economic structure of the I–O tables.
The I–O tables contain data formatted for presentation in millions of dollars. For use by some analysts and modellers, the data in the actual Excel spreadsheets contains additional decimal places to facilitate loading into other applications. As a consequence of the techniques used to fully populate and balance the tables relatively small values may be estimated in certain cells. Where values less than $1 million are shown, they are solely to facilitate reconciliation, row and column balancing and no significant economic meaning should be attached to them.
The result is a coherent picture of the economy and the significant relationships in it, at a point in time; however users should not interpret I–O data as they would directly collected administrative or survey data.
Input output product details
The Input Output Product Details (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001, formerly known as the 'Commodity Cards' ) represent a very fine disaggregation of the I–O Product Group level data presented in the main tables. Due to the degree of modelling used in the main tables, the I–O tables at the IOPG level are more robust than the more detailed data at the IOPC based detailed product level and the extent and impact of the required modelling makes this dataset less robust than the standard that the ABS would normally apply.
However, the ABS has concluded that even with these quality concerns the Product Details are a very rich dataset containing much information that is not available from any other source and provided it is used with some caution, its value outweighs these concerns.
A major unifying feature within the Australian System of National Accounts is the use of supply and use methodology and tables to confront the data and balance the components of GDP in annual terms. Input Output (I–O) tables are an expansion of the Supply Use (SU) tables. They disaggregate the gross domestic product account showing inter–industry flows of goods and services, and at the time of release, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measure reported in the Input Output tables matched that which was reported in the most recent Annual National Accounts publication, Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0) available at the time of compilation.
The ABS publishes a large amount of data on many aspects of the economy, both periodically and in the form of occasional surveys of particular industries or activities. Many of these, especially annual publications and occasional product surveys, are used in the I–O tables via the national accounts quarterly and annual supply–use balancing process and so are relatable to the I–O tables. However the data as presented in the I–O tables may differ in detail from the source data because of the I–O data confrontation and balancing processes, scope and coverage differences between individual publications and the national accounts, and adjustments and additions due to economic activity not generally collected in industry surveys such as gross fixed capital formation and use of financial services.
In compiling the Hybrid (Physical-Monetary Energy Use) tables extensive work is undertaken to ensure consistency between I-O table estimates and monetary use estimates within the Energy Account, Australia publication (cat. no. 4604.0.) As a result of this reconciliation process, there is coherence between the Hybrid table and I-O tables for each energy product at the level of total intermediate use, as well as for household use and exports. A perfect alignment between Hybrid Energy Use tables and Input-Output tables within specific industries and inventories is not possible because of the iterative balancing process in the production of I-O tables. Though these differences are expected to be very small they are inevitable when the Hybrid Energy Use table is published before the corresponding I-O table. The reconciliation of monetary estimates in Hybrid tables and I-O tables will continue to be undertaken in future releases of those publications.
Input Output tables disaggregate and describe the gross domestic product account in terms of the flows through the economy of the supply of goods and services from producers (domestic and non–resident) to their users and uses. They present a detailed analysis of the process of production, the use of goods and services of that production at basic, as well as producer prices, along with details on taxes, subsides and various types of margins.
For more detailed information about the quality dimensions of the Australian National Accounts please see the Information Paper: Quality Dimensions of the Australian National Accounts, 2007 (cat. no. 5216.0.55.002).
The I–O tables in Excel spreadsheets can be downloaded from the 'Downloads' tab on this page.