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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.
The service industries sector accounted for 68% of the gross value added for all industries in 2001-02, and also showed the greatest increase in output in chain volume terms (measuring 'real' output unaffected by price change), with an increase of 24% over the period from 1996-97 to 2001-02 (table 20.2). In comparison, the goods producing industries recorded an increase of 15% over the same period.
The largest contributor to the service industries sector in 2001-02 was the property and business services industry, which accounted for 20% of the gross value added of the sector and 13% of the gross value added of all industries. The next largest within the service industries sector was finance and insurance services, which accounted for 12% of the gross value added of the sector.
In the five-year period 1996-97 to 2001-02, the gross value added of the services industries sector increased by an average annual rate of 4%, while that of the goods producing industries recorded an average annual growth rate of 3%.
Within the service industries sector, the property and business services industry recorded the largest percentage increase in output in the five-year period (38% in real terms), which is the equivalent of an average annual growth rate of 7%. The next highest growth rate was recorded by the communications industry, with a 36% increase in output over the five-year period, and an average annual growth rate of 6%. The lowest increase in real terms in the service industries sector over the period was by the government administration and defence industry with an increase of 9%.
In terms of employment, the service industries sector remained dominant, accounting for 75% of total employment for all industries in 2002-03 (table 20.3). Total employment in the service industries sector in 2002-03 was 7,046,800 persons.
In the five-year period from 1997-98, employment in the service industries increased by 881,600 persons or 14%, representing an average annual growth rate of 3%. In the same period the goods producing industries recorded an increase in employment of 98,300 persons. This represented an increase of 4% and an average annual growth rate of just over 0.8%.
Within the service industries sector, the major employing industry was retail trade with employment in 2002-03 of 1,445,800 persons, accounting for 15% of all employment and 21% of total employment in the sector. Other large employing service industries were property and business services (1,092,700 persons), health and community services (936,300 persons), and education (666,100 persons).
The service industries showing the greatest employment growth in the five-year period since 1997-98 were government administration and defence, with a 27% increase from 339,300 persons to 430,200 persons, property and business services with an increase of 22% in the period, and cultural and recreation services with an increase of 18%. The transport and storage sector showed the smallest increase over the five-year period of 4%, while the wholesale trade sector recorded a decrease of 10%.