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Business Indicators, Australia

Quarterly estimates of private sector sales, wages, profits, and inventories

Reference period
March 2020
Released
2/06/2020

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for manufacturing sales of goods and services rose 2.2%.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories fell 1.2%.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 1.1%.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries remained relatively unchanged.

Main features

March key figures

   Dec Qtr 19 to Mar Qtr 20Mar Qtr 19 to Mar Qtr 20
   %%
Sales of goods and services (Chain volume measures)  
 Manufacturing  
  Trend
na
na
  Seasonally Adjusted
2.2
2.8
 Wholesale trade  
  Trend
na
na
  Seasonally Adjusted
1.6
-0.1
Inventories (Chain volume measures)  
 Trend
na
na
 Seasonally Adjusted
-1.2
-2.1
Company gross operating profits  
 Trend
na
na
 Seasonally Adjusted
1.1
1.5
Wages and salaries  
 Seasonally Adjusted
0.0
3.8
na not available, trend estimates have been suspended due to the impacts of COVID-19
 
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Trend estimates have been suspended
 

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Trend estimates have been suspended
 

March key points

Chain volume estimates

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories fell 1.2% in the March quarter 2020.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for Manufacturing sales of goods and services rose 2.2% this quarter.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for Wholesale trade sales of goods and services rose 1.6%.
     

Current prices estimates

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 1.1% in the March quarter 2020.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries remained relatively unchanged.
     

Comparison between company gross operating profits and gross operating surplus

Valuation changes have had an impact on the value of inventories held by Australian businesses this quarter. An inventories valuation adjustment (IVA) is applied in the calculation of the gross operating surplus of private non-financial corporations (GOS) estimate in the Australian National Accounts. The IVA for the March quarter 2020 is $533m, which is $1,633m higher than the December quarter 2019 IVA of -$1,100m.

No adjustment is made to the company gross operating profits (CGOP) estimate in this publication and, as a result, users should exercise caution when comparing CGOP and GOS. It should be noted that there are other differences between the two series. In particular, changes are made to GOS when annual benchmarks are applied and slightly different seasonal factors apply to the two series. Given this, while CGOP movements are an appropriate indicator for GOS, the two series will not have equivalent seasonally adjusted movements from quarter to quarter.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in March quarter 2020

The World Health Organisation (WHO) commenced daily situation reports of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on 21 January 2020 and identified it as an international health emergency on 30 January. From 1 February, the Australian Government placed travel restrictions on those travelling to Australia from mainland China. These restrictions were progressively increased until they applied to all non-residents. In March, regulations to encourage social distancing saw further impacts on the ability of businesses to trade as normal. This included restrictions on dining-in at restaurants and restrictions on the number of people that could be in a shop at a particular time.

COVID-19 saw a minor impact on data collection activities for the March quarter 2020. Individual businesses reported a number of impacts attributed to COVID-19 depending on the industry.

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in business activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in spending that will occur during this time, as certain businesses are restricted from trading for example. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying business activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in business activity can be accurately estimated. The Business Indicators trend series have therefore been suspended and will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in business activity.

Update to seasonal adjustment methods

Business Indicators Australia uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events such as COVID-19 can distort estimates calculated using this method.

From March quarter 2020 for selected series, seasonal factors will be calculated using data up to and including December quarter 2019, then projected from March quarter 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted for industries affected by COVID-19 impacts. Switching to the forward factor method may result in revisions in seasonal data for future quarters when the concurrent seasonal adjustment method is reinstated.

Inquiries

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Analysis by industry

Featured series

The following graphs and commentary refer to seasonally adjusted estimates for sales of goods and services and inventories in volume terms, and wages and salaries and company gross operating profits in current price terms. Trend estimates have been suspended for all series due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Total all industries

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 1.1%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries remained relatively unchanged this quarter.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for total inventories fell 1.2%.

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Mining

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 2.9%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 1.7%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services rose 0.4%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories fell 0.8%.

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Manufacturing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 6.1%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 1.7%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services rose 2.2%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories fell 2.0%.

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Electricity, gas, water and waste services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 6.4%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 2.1%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 1.9%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories rose 1.8%.

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Construction

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 2.7%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 0.2%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services rose 0.3%.

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Wholesale trade

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 2.3%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 0.8%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services rose 1.6%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories fell 0.6%.

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Retail trade

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 3.2%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries remained relatively unchanged this quarter.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services remained relatively unchanged this quarter. The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories fell 1.2%.

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Accommodation and food services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 11.5%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 4.2%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 7.7%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for inventories fell 5.4%.

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Transport, postal and warehousing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 8.3%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 1.6%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 4.2%.

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Information media and telecommunications

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 4.0%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 1.3%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 0.5%.

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Financial and insurance services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 48.9%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 1.1%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services rose 5.7%.

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Rental, hiring and real estate services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 4.6%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 1.6%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 1.8%.

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Professional, scientific and technical services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 2.2%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 1.0%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services rose 1.5%.

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Administrative and support services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 12.1%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 0.8%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 3.7%.

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Education and training

In current price terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 0.9%.

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Health care and social assistance

In current price terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 0.1%.

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Arts and recreation services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 11.7%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 4.6%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 4.8%.

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Other services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits rose 0.8%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries fell 0.8%.

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In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services fell 4.2%.

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Data downloads

Table 1. Inventories, chain volume measures

Table 2. Inventories, chain volume measures, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 3. Inventories, current prices

Table 4. Income from sales of goods and services, chain volume measures

Table 5. Income from sales of goods and services, chain volume measures, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 6. Income from sales of goods and services, current prices

Table 7. Income from sales of goods and services by state, current prices

Table 8. Income from sales of goods and services by state, current prices, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 9. Company profits before income tax, current prices

Table 10. Company profits before income tax, current prices, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 11. Company gross operating profits, current prices

Table 12. Company gross operating profits, current prices, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 13. Unincorporated gross operating profits, current prices

Table 14. Unincorporated gross operating profits, current prices, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 15. Business gross operating profits, current prices

Table 16. Business gross operating profits, current prices, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 17. Wages and salaries, current prices

Table 18. Wages and salaries, current prices, percentage change from the previous quarter

Table 19. Wages and salaries by state, current prices

Table 20. Wages and salaries by state, current prices, percentage change from previous quarter

Table 21. Sales/wages and salaries ratio, current prices, original

Table 22. Business gross operating profits/sales ratio, current prices, original

Table 23. Inventories/sales ratio, current prices, original

Table 24. Manufacturing subdivision, income from sales of goods and services, chain volume measures

Table 25. Manufacturing subdivision, income from sales of goods and services, current prices

Table 26. Manufacturing subdivision, inventories, chain volume measures

Table 27. Manufacturing subdivision, inventories, current prices

Table 28. Manufacturing subdivision, company profits before income tax, current prices, original

Table 29. Manufacturing subdivision, company gross operating profits, current prices, original