Business Indicators, Australia

Latest release

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

Reference period
March 2024
  • Next Release 2/09/2024
    Business Indicators, Australia, June 2024
  • Next Release 2/12/2024
    Business Indicators, Australia, September 2024
  • Next Release 3/03/2025
    Business Indicators, Australia, December 2024
  • View all releases

Key statistics

Seasonally adjusted, current price estimates for:

  • Company gross operating profits fell 2.5%
  • Wages and salaries rose 0.6%

Seasonally adjusted, chain volume estimate for:

  • Inventories rose 1.3%
Key data items
 Dec Qtr 23 to Mar Qtr 24 (%)Mar Qtr 23 to Mar Qtr 24 (%)
Sales of goods and services (Chain volume measures)  
  Seasonally Adjusted-1.0-2.5
 Wholesale trade  
  Seasonally Adjusted-0.9-6.1
Inventories (Chain volume measures)  
  Seasonally Adjusted1.3-0.6
Company gross operating profits  
  Seasonally Adjusted-2.5-8.6
Wages and salaries  
  Seasonally Adjusted0.66.6
  1. na - not available. Trend estimates have been suspended due to the impacts of COVID-19.


  1. Trend estimates have been suspended

Company gross operating profits

  1. Trend estimates have been suspended

Notes on release

Change to ABS Business Indicators Methodology

The method for calculating aggregate estimates in ABS Business Indicators has changed from the December quarter 2023 publication. In the previous method, known as 'number raised' estimation, survey weights are determined by a business’ chance of selection. Weights are assigned to each business in the survey sample according to the number of businesses in the target population that the surveyed business represents. For example, a business in the survey with a weight of 100 represents 100 businesses in the population. 

From December quarter 2023, aggregate estimates are now calculated using a method known as 'composite regression estimation' (CRE). CRE methodology uses ATO BAS sales and wages benchmark information, and a combination of current, previous, and continuing survey samples, to calibrate survey weights to produce more representative estimates than the existing 'number raised' methodology. 

This change has been implemented to support the ABS priority to reduce provider burden by making increased use of administrative data. Using the new estimation method means the Business Indicators sample size can be reduced while maintaining quality for key data items (sales, wages, inventories and profits) at the ANZSIC division level.

The sample size was reduced from around 16,200 businesses to around 12,750 businesses in the March quarter 2024. The ‘general regression estimation’ method was used in place of the CRE method for the March quarter 2024 only, as this is a more appropriate method when the sample composition changes significantly. 

Some movement standard errors are higher in March quarter 2024 because of one-off changes to the sample composition in reducing the sample size. The impact on quality for these data items has been closely assessed and is considered minor. From June quarter 2024, there are not expected to be any significant ongoing impacts on published data because of this methodology change. Data quality for most data items will be consistent with previously published standard errors. Standard errors for some smaller state data items will be higher because of the sample size reduction. There will be no historical revisions as previously published levels and movements will be maintained.

Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review (EASR) (March quarter 2024)

In early 2020 the ABS advised that the method used to produce seasonally adjusted estimates would be changed from the ‘concurrent adjustment’ method to the ‘forward factors’ method for series with significant and prolonged impacts from COVID-19. As the disruption from the COVID-19 period has settled, ABS statistical programs have been evaluating the suitability of the continued use of forward factors by conducting extraordinary annual reviews of seasonally adjusted series.

An EASR process was conducted in March quarter 2024. The EASR process assesses each series individually to determine how observations from 2020 through to the end of 2023 should be treated and the most appropriate approach (concurrent adjustment or forward factors) for estimating seasonal adjustment factors in the immediate future. Revisions arising from the annual review are relatively minor for most series. Series which have used forward factors in the previous year are likely to have larger revisions because the seasonal factor estimates are annually updated to incorporate information from the previous year's observations. The outcome of the latest review was for all remaining series to be returned to concurrent seasonal adjustment.

Further information can be found here: Methods changes during the COVID-19 period.

Suspension of trend series

In the March quarter 2020, trend estimates were suspended due to the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in business activity. In the short term, this measurement has been significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in business activity due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the publication of trend estimates for this period may provide a misleading view of underlying business activity. With underlying business activity now being less affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19), the ABS will continue to review the trend series with a view to reinstating trend data in the near future. 

Accounting for the extra leap year day

The extra leap year day in 2024 has been accounted for in seasonally adjusted statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the month of February 2024 and the March quarter 2024. The impact of an additional leap year day is analysed as part of the seasonal adjustment process, which includes the impact of trading days. The impact of the extra leap year day will be evident in the original (non-seasonally adjusted) series. For further information please refer to this note: Accounting for the extra leap year day in ABS seasonally adjusted statistics.

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 2024 is -$504m which is $3,683m lower than the December quarter 2023 IVA of $3,179m.

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.

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. 

Total all industries



Electricity, gas, water and waste services


Wholesale trade

Retail trade

Accommodation and food services

Transport, postal and warehousing

Information media and telecommunications

Financial and insurance services

Rental, hiring and real estate services

Professional, scientific and technical services

Administrative and support services

Education and training

Health care and social assistance

Arts and recreation services

Other services

Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Data Explorer datasets

Caution: Data in Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the reference period when using Data Explorer.

Business Indicators  - Quarterly estimates of private sector sales, wages, profits and inventories

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5676.0.

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