8165.0 - Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2007 to Jun 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/10/2010   
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21 October, 2010
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra Time)
Business numbers fall

The number of actively trading businesses in Australia fell by 1% in 2008/09, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This recent decline is due to a decrease in new business registrations during 2008/09. While new business entry rates declined, the business exit rate remained steady during the same period, at 15.4% for both the 2007/08 and 2008/09 financial years.

In June 2009, Australia had more than 2 million businesses. The greatest number of Australian businesses were in the construction industry (17%), followed by professional, scientific and technical services (11%). Rental, hiring and real estate services accounted for 10% of all Australian businesses.

The type of legal structures used by Australian business operators in June 2009 showed a 5% drop in the number of partnerships and a 2.5% drop in sole proprietors. In contrast, there was a 3.3% increase in trusts. The number of companies remained stable compared to the previous year.

The vast majority of Australian businesses are small businesses. In June 2009:
  • Almost two million businesses employed less than 20 staff (including those who did not employ any staff)
  • Almost two million businesses had an annual turnover of less than $2 million.

Of those businesses that survived from June 2008 to June 2009, most businesses retained relatively steady staffing levels. Of the businesses with fluctuating staffing levels, a slightly higher number of businesses decreased staffing numbers than increased staffing numbers.

Similarly, annual turnover remained relatively steady for most businesses. Of the few that fluctuated, similar numbers grew to those that shrank.

Further details can be found in Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits (cat. no. 8165.0), available for free download from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au

Media note:

When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) must be attributed as the source.