5676.0 - Business Indicators, Australia, Mar 2008 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/06/2008   
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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.


The Business Indicators publication contains estimates of sales of goods and services, wages and salaries (from the December quarter 2001 issue), company profits, and the book value of inventories for selected industries in Australia. The series have been compiled from data collected from private sector businesses by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its Quarterly Business Indicators Survey.

The scope excludes public sector business units (i.e. all departments, authorities and other organisations owned and controlled by Commonwealth, State and Local Government).

The scope also excludes non-employing businesses. Although there are a substantial number of these businesses, it is expected that they would not contribute significantly to the estimates, although the impact would vary from industry to industry and from data item to data item.

Most of the series contained in the publication are aggregates for selected industries for Australia as a whole, however state level all-industry aggregates are included for sales of goods and services and wages and salaries.

The industries from which the data items are collected have been classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).


The Quarterly Business Indicators Survey is conducted in respect of each quarter and returns are completed during the eight or nine week period after the end of the quarter to which survey data relate e.g. December quarter survey returns are completed during January and February. The Business Indicators publication is then released on the first Monday of the third month following the quarter.


The ABS is focused on, and committed to, accuracy in all the data it releases however like most collections conducted by the ABS the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey is subject to both Sampling and Non-sampling errors.

The estimates presented in the Business Indicators publication are based on a sample of approximately 16,000 businesses. Because the entire population is not surveyed, the published estimates are subject to sampling error. The most common way of quantifying sampling error is to calculate the standard error for the published estimate.

Annotations are used to identify all published estimates that have an estimated relative standard error (RSE) of greater than 10%. Details on the recommended usage of estimates with a high RSE are provided in paragraph 2 of the Technical Notes. These annotations have only been applied to estimates from the September quarter 2003.

Non-sampling errors may arise as a result of errors in the reporting, recording or processing of the data and can occur even if there is a complete enumeration of the population. It is difficult to measure the size of non-sampling errors, however every effort is made in the design of the survey and development of survey procedures to minimise their effects.


Most data are directly comparable over different collection cycles however the scope and compilation method of some data items have changed over time leading to breaks in these series.

Profits items for businesses with less than 20 employees are not collected directly and have been modelled since the September quarter 2004. This modelling has been included in survey estimates from the March quarter 2001, with a break in series occurring at that time.

Also from the September quarter 2004 issue, the definition of 'company' has been expanded to include quasi-corporate enterprises. For practical purposes, quasi-corporates are defined as unincorporated businesses employing 250 or more employees. Quasi-corporates have been included in survey estimates from the March quarter 2001, with a break in series occurring at that time.

The data presented in the Business Indicators publication are also broadly comparable with other statistics produced by the ABS. In particular since the data collected in the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey are used in the compilation of the quarterly estimates of the Australian National Accounts there will be coherence between the two sets of estimates.

However there are some differences between the statistics in this publication and corresponding statistics in the quarterly Australian National Accounts. These differences are outlined in paragraph 30 of the Explanatory Notes.

The estimates for sales of goods and services by Retail trade, and the estimates for wages and salaries in this publication will differ from turnover estimates included in Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0) and estimates for gross earnings included in Wage and Salary Earners, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0). The reasons for these differences are outlined in paragraphs 31 and 32 of the Explanatory Notes.


The major series estimates for this collection are available in original, seasonally adjusted and trend series. To find out more information on seasonal adjustment and trend estimator please see Timeseries Analysis Frequently Asked Questions.


Business Indicators (cat. no. 5676.0) is available from the ABS website as an electronic version of the summary data and Explanatory Notes, as a more detailed PDF version and as downloadable Excel data files for time series data.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product or service, then ABS Consultancy Services can help you with customised services to suit your needs. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.