1360.0 - Measuring Australia's Economy, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/02/2003   
   Page tools: Print Print Page  
Contents >> Introduction

Measuring Australia's Economy has been structured so that readers will gain a broad understanding of how economic activity can be measured and the state of the Australian economy at the beginning of the 21st century. Information on specific economic indicators is provided in sections which consider economic activity from different perspectives. The format of most entries presents commentary, a graph and table of data, explanatory notes and further reading. The final chapter brings together information on concepts, classifications, sources, methods and usage of the material provided in the book.

Chart and Table Contents

The statistics presented are the latest available at October 2002.

The statistics are generally presented in the charts as time series for the last 10 years of monthly or quarterly data.

The tables generally present the last three or six years of annual data. Provision of quarterly or monthly data varies depending on the series.

Data Sources

The tables contain mainly ABS data, although data from non-ABS sources are also included. For ABS data, the name of the source publication and its catalogue number are included in the footnotes of the charts and tables. If the data are from other sources, the source organisation’s name is included in the footnotes.

Seasonally Adjusted and Trend Estimates

Data series in this publication include original, seasonally adjusted and trend series. Seasonally adjusted and trend series are clearly labelled. All other series are original series. Care should be taken in interpreting data for the most recent months and quarters. Some of the original and all of the seasonally adjusted and trend series are subject to revision.

It is not uncommon for movements in the original time series data to differ from those in seasonally adjusted and trend time series. Movements in a time series of original data may reflect several factors, including:

    • longer-term changes in the item being measured (i.e. trend movements);
    • short-term irregular changes;
    • regular seasonal influences;
    • normal ‘trading’, ‘working’ or ‘pay’ day patterns; and
    • systematic holiday effects.

Seasonal adjustment and trend estimates help the user identify the effect of these influences on the time series. Seasonal adjustment removes the effect of the last three listed influences from the data, leaving only the trend and short-term irregular movements. Trend estimates are then obtained by removing the effects of the short-term irregularities. The ABS believes that trend series provide the best 'underlying' measures of economic activity for monthly or quarterly series.

Chain Volume Estimates

Chain volume estimates in this publication refer to estimates in 2000-01 dollar terms. Chain volume estimates remove the direct effect of price change from the current price values so that movements in the data between one period and another reflect changes in volume, often called ‘changes in real terms’.

Explanatory Notes

ABS publications generally contain Explanatory Notes which describe the collection methodology and data items contained therein. Because Measuring Australia’s Economy contains statistics from numerous sources, collection methodologies and data item descriptions have not been included. Readers are directed to the Explanatory Notes contained in the appropriate ABS publications for such descriptions. Explanatory notes in Measuring Australia’s Economy describe each economic indicator and how it is used to measure economic activity.

Further Reading

Further reading references for each indicator are generally ABS publications. The ABS uses a catalogue numbering system to describe its publications and products. The catalogue number appears in brackets after each publication, for example, Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (5302.0). A description of the catalogue numbering system can be found in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (1101.0). The origins of publications not from the ABS are also indicated.

Access to FREE ABS information

This website contains a vast quantity of free current information on Australian economy and society. Most of this can be accessed using the "Statistics" button on the navigation bar. Of particular interest to the subject matter of Measuring Australia's Economy are the following:
    Key National Statistics details Australia's key economic and social indicators including the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and unemployment figures, retail trade figures and many more.
    Statistical Concepts Library provides easy access to authoritative information about the concepts, sources, methods and classifications underlying Australian official statistics.
    Information papers including special articles, working papers, research papers and other information.

The ABS Library Extension Program (LEP)
The LEP makes ABS publications freely accessible to the community via public, state, TAFE and university libraries either in hard copy, or electronically through our online services. Many school libraries also hold ABS publications. Please contact your library to establish its opening hours and to determine whether it has the ABS data you require. A full list of participating libraries is available on the ABS website.

University students and staff have access to AusStats, a web based information service providing the ABS full standard product range on-line. This includes the publications referenced in Measuring Australia's Economy and spreadsheets containing time series data for major economic series.

Symbols and Other Usages

In all tables the following symbols mean:
n.a.not available
n.y.a.not yet available
. .not applicable
---nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

Yearly periods shown as, e.g. 1996-97, refer to the fiscal year ended 30 June. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items.


ABAREAustralian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics
ANZSIC Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
c.i.f.cost insurance freight
CLIComposite Leading Indicator
CPIConsumer Price Index
f.o.b.free on board
GDPGross Domestic Product
GNEGross National Expenditure
GOSGross Operating Surplus
ICLSInternational Conference of Labour Statisticians
ILOInternational Labour Organisation
IPDImplicit Price Deflator
LEPLibrary Extension Program
MFPMultifactor Productivity
OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
HFCEHousehold Final Consumption Expenditure
RBAReserve Bank of Australia
SNASystem of National Accounts
SNA(93)System of National Accounts 1993
TWITrade-weighted Index

Previous PageNext Page