Latest release

Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits

Contains counts of actively trading businesses, rates of entry to and exit from the market sector of the economy, and rates of business survival.

Reference period
July 2017 - June 2021

Key statistics

At June 30 2021 there were 2,402,254 actively trading businesses in the Australian economy.


In 2020-21 there was a: 

  • 3.8%, or 87,806, increase in the number of businesses.
  • 15.8% entry rate, with 365,480 entries.
  • 12.0% exit rate, with 277,674 exits.


Information on quarterly experimental counts of Australian businesses for the 5 quarters ending June 2021 can be found below and in the associated data cube. 

There have been some impacts on CABEE series as a result of COVID-19.  Refer to the Technical Note for further information.

The number of actively trading businesses in this release differs from the total number of entities with an Australian Business Number (ABN).

A table of the conceptual and practical basis of counts is published in the Methodology section of this release detailing how these counts differ.

Further splits of entries and exits are being introduced into the annual data for the first time as part of this release. For further information please refer to the Technical Note.


Since the last release, the scope of CABEE has been revised to exclude superannuation funds. Refer to the Technical Note for more information.

In 2020-21 the three industries with the largest net increase in businesses were: 

  • Construction (an increase of 16,603 to 410,839 businesses)
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical services (an increase of 14,432 to 316,462 businesses)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance (an increase of 10,674 to 159,076 businesses)


The three industries with the largest percentage growth in businesses in 2020-21 were:

  • Other Services (+7.4%, with an increase of 7,868 to 114,575 total)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance (+7.2%, with an increase of 10,674 to 159,076 total)
  • Retail Trade (+6.3%, with an increase of 8,593 to 145,079 total)


The industry with the largest percentage decrease in businesses in 2020-21 was:

  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing (-2.8%, with an decrease of 5,589 to 194,459 total)

States and territories

In 2020-21 there was a:

  • 5.8% increase in the number of businesses in the Australian Capital Territory, the largest percentage growth in any state/territory, with an increase of 1,732 to 31,499 total.
  • 4.0% increase in the number of businesses in New South Wales, with an increase of 31,245 to 817,648 total.
  • 2.8% increase in the number of businesses in the Northern Territory (407 to 14,947 total), and South Australia (4,085 to 149,404 total) the joint lowest percentage growth of any state/territory.

Institutional sector

At the end of 2020-21 households accounted for 54.0% of all businesses, the largest of any institutional sector.

In 2020-21 there was a:

  • 5.4% increase in non-financial corporations, with an increase of 52,190 to 1,016,547 total.
  • 7.6% increase in financial corporations, with an increase of 6,013 to 84,664 total.
  • 2.3% increase in households, with an increase of 29,770 to 1,297,960 total.

Type of legal organsiation

In 2020-21 companies had the largest net growth of any type of legal organisation, increasing by 59,850 businesses, or 6.5% to 986,515 total.

There was also a:

  • 3.0% increase in sole proprietors, with an increase of 20,402 to 707,971 total.
  • 1.6% decrease in partnerships, with a decrease of 3,899 to 236,114 total.
  • 20.3% entry rate for sole proprietors, with 139,559 entries.

Employment size

Employment data in this section was created using an experimental point-in-time employment indicator to capture the impact of COVID-19.

The annualised employment data typically published in CABEE is available as normal in the datacubes. Refer to the Methodology, or the About tab of the relevant datacubes, for more information.

There have been some impacts on CABEE employment series as a result of COVID-19.  Refer to the Technical Note for further information.

In 2020-21 the number of employing businesses increased by 13.6%, with a net movement of 58,209 surviving businesses from non-employing to employing.

There was a:

  • 15.2% increase in businesses with 1-4 employees, increasing by 92,495 to 699,623 total.
  • 7.6% increase in businesses with 5-19 employees, increasing by 16,198 to 230,633 total.
  • 2.2% decrease in non-employing businesses, decreasing by 31,056 to 1,410,049 total.

Quarterly experimental counts

Quarterly experimental counts of Australian businesses for the 5 quarters ending June 2021, have been made available. For further information on the methodological differences between the quarterly and annual counts please refer to the Technical Note.

In the June quarter 2021 there was a:

  • 1.4%, or 34,071, increase in the number of businesses.
  • 4.5% entry rate, with 107,206 entries.
  • 3.0% exit rate, with 73,135 exits.

Quarterly counts of entries and exits are subject to seasonality.  Seasonally adjusted quarterly data will be available in the December 2021 release. 

Industry subdivision

In the June quarter 2021, the three subdivisions with the largest net quarterly increase in businesses were:

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (Except Computer System Design and Related Services)
  • Construction Services
  • Property Operators and Real Estate Services


For all quarters in 2020-21, industry sub-divisions with consistently high percentage growth included:

  • Non-Store Retailing and Retail Commission-Based Buying and/or Selling
  • Social Assistance Services
  • Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services

Data downloads

Data files

Tables 17-20 in Data cube 1 and Data cubes 2-11 will be published in December 2021.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8165.0.