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Australian System of National Accounts

Annual estimates of key economic measures, including GDP, consumption, investment, income, capital stock, productivity and balance sheets

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

Key statistics

  • The Australian economy fell 0.3% in chain volume terms in 2019-20
  • Labour productivity rose 0.5%
  • The household saving ratio rose to 10.3%
  • National net worth rose $828 billion to $12.9 trillion

2019-20 key figures

  2015-162016-172017-182018-192019-20
Chain volume GDP and related measures (a)
 GDP2.82.32.92.2-0.3
 GDP per capita (b)1.30.61.40.5-1.7
 Gross value added market sector (c)2.42.23.11.7-1.2
 Real net national disposable income-0.25.33.03.70.9
Productivity
 GDP per hour worked0.90.80.30.00.5
 Gross value added per hour worked market sector (c)1.51.20.70.20.6
 Real unit labour costs1.0-3.9-0.4-1.3-0.9
Prices
 GDP chain price index-0.53.82.03.31.9
 Terms of trade-10.014.31.95.70.8
Current price measures
 GDP2.26.14.95.61.7
Saving and wealth
 Household saving ratio (%)6.15.24.33.910.3
 National net saving ($ billions)40.774.077.0101.5125.2
 National net worth ($ trillions)10.611.511.912.112.9
 Table shows percent change on preceding financial year, except for the saving and wealth measures.
a. Reference year for chain volume measures and real income measures is 2018-19.
b. Population estimates are as published in National, state and territory population and ABS projections.
c. ANZSIC divisions A to N, R and S. See Glossary - Market sector, in Methodology.

Articles

This edition of the Australian System National Accounts includes the following articles:

2019-20 economic overview

The Australian economy contracted by 0.3% in chain volume terms in 2019-20, ending 28 consecutive years of economic growth. Economic activity in 2019-20 was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and bushfires, leading to GDP per capita falling by 1.7%, the first decline since 2008-09. Labour productivity rose 0.5%, as a decline in hours worked outstripped the contraction in GDP. Real net national disposable income rose 0.9%, predominantly reflecting the terms of trade which increased 0.8%.

In nominal terms, GDP rose 1.7%, albeit at the slowest rate in five years, recording continual growth in annual GDP since 1959. The chain price index for GDP increased 1.9%, reflecting subdued domestic inflationary pressures.

Private demand drove the contraction in the economy, detracting 2.4 percentage points from GDP. Household final consumption expenditure fell 3.0%, the first annual decline in recorded history. Spending on discretionary services declined as household movements and behaviour changed with the onset of the pandemic. Private investment also fell, reflecting a reduction in demand for dwellings. 

Public demand contributed 1.4 percentage points to GDP, partly offsetting the decline from the private sector. Government final consumption expenditure increased 6.6%, the most significant rise since 1984-85, as all levels of government responded to the pandemic through the provision of additional services to households and businesses. Public investment grew 2.4%, the fifth consecutive year of growth, reflecting continued infrastructure investment by state and local general government.

Market sector gross value added declined 1.2%, with 12 of 16 market sector industries recording falls. A number of industries, including Transport, Postal and Warehousing and Accommodation and Food Services, experienced significant declines following operating restrictions and reduced demand due to COVID-19. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the measurement of GVA for 2019-20 was quality assured, as the most recent period relies on the output indicator method. For more information, see Output indicator method in the national accounts

This release includes a suite of accounts which provide insights into the flows of income, saving, investment, financing and wealth within and across institutional sectors of the economy. The effects of COVID-19 and the subsequent government response, resulted in net saving for various sectors of the economy reaching unprecedented levels. The government’s support for business and households in the form of social assistance benefits and subsidies, such as JobKeeper and Boosting Cash Flow for Employers, led general government net saving to fall to -$83.7 billion, the largest negative saving on record. Conversely, the net saving position of households and non-financial corporations, as recipients of this support, reached record positive levels. The household saving ratio rose to 10.3%, the highest rate since 1985-86.

Non-financial corporations net worth increased $177.3 billion (+76.3%) in 2019-20, following six consecutive years of declines, as they sought to preserve liquidity and reduce liabilities in the uncertain economic environment. This release includes a spotlight on insights from the non-financial corporations' balance sheet.

Household net worth increased $484.8 billion to $11.1 trillion, reflecting a recovery in property prices over 2019-20 increasing the value of land, and the slowest growth in loan liabilities since measurement began in 1989. The rise in households’ superannuation assets was the weakest since 2008-09, reflecting volatility in financial markets and early release of superannuation following the onset of the pandemic.

Revisions in this issue

This issue of the Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0) incorporates the 2018-19 annual supply and use tables. For information on the role of supply and use tables in the national accounts and the major revisions please see the 2018-19 supply and use tables section within this publication. The 0.3% fall in GDP for 2019-20 is a 0.1 percentage point downward revision from the result published in June quarter 2020. There are also revisions to component series arising from the 2018-19 benchmarks, new data and data confrontation to balance the accounts.

Analysis

Australian economy contracts 0.3%

Australian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 0.3% in 2019-20, this is a 0.1 percentage point downward revision from the annualised growth published in the June quarter 2020 national accounts. GDP per capita fell 1.7%, the first decline in 11 years.

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Domestic final demand drives the contraction in the economy

Domestic final demand detracted 1.0 percentage points from GDP. Household consumption and private investment detracted 1.6 and 0.8 percentage points, while government consumption contributed 1.3 percentage points. Net exports contributed 1.1 percentage points. The fall in imports of goods and services outstripped the decline in exports, which fell for the first time since 2001-02.

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Note: contributions may not add to GDP growth due to the statistical discrepancy.

Contribution of household consumption and investment continue to decline

Household consumption, as a share of GDP, fell to 53.7% in 2019-20, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fall is the fourth consecutive decline, and the lowest share since 1973-74.

Investment as a share of GDP has continued its downward trajectory since the peak of mining infrastructure investment and is now at its lowest level since measurement began in 1959-60. The decline in contribution in 2019-20 reflects continued weakness in demand for dwellings and machinery and equipment investment.

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Household consumption records first annual decline

Household final consumption expenditure fell 3.0% in chain volume terms in 2019-20, the first annual fall in the national accounts series. Spending on discretionary services led the fall as household activities were restricted by the pandemic.

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Highest household saving ratio since 1985-86

The household saving ratio rose to 10.3%, the first rise in five years, and the highest annual saving rate in 34 years. The rise in household saving reflects the steep fall in household spending coupled with a moderate rise in gross disposable income. Gross disposable income rose 5.4%, with continued growth in compensation of employees and social assistance benefits. 

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Household loan liabilities decline as a proportion of gross household income

The value of household loan liabilities relative to gross income declined for the first time since 2011-12, as demand for loans slowed with the onset of the pandemic. Since 2010-11, interest payable on dwellings relative to gross income has continued to decline, reflecting cuts to the cash rate over this period.

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Mining continues to grow as gas production increases

The Australian economy has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, as reflected by changes in contribution to gross value added (GVA). In 2019-20 the industries with the largest share of current price GVA (at basic prices) were Mining, Financial and Insurance Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, Construction and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services. 

Mining recorded growth of 4.9% in 2019-20, driven by increased capacity at oil and gas extraction facilities. Metal Ore Mining also recorded a strong year, driven by iron ore due to international supply disruptions and increased demand from China.

Financial and Insurance Services rose 1.8% in 2019-20. Loan and deposit balances increased, reflecting increased saving with government support to households and business in response to COVID-19. The increase was also driven by strong demand for superannuation services.

Health Care and Social Assistance rose 4.4% in 2019-20, following continued public expenditure in health and disability services. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased public health, which was partly offset by the private sector, as elective surgeries were deferred and face to face visits to medical practitioners declined. 

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Note: industry GVA at basic prices as a proportion of total GVA at basic prices

Compensation of employees share of total factor income continues to fall

In 2019-20, compensation of employees (COE) share of total factor income fell to 51.7%, the lowest share since 1963-64. COE grew 3.5%, below the ten year average of 4.5%, reflecting changes to the composition of the labour market and slow growth in the wage rate. 

The profits share of total factor income was 29.4% in 2019-20, the highest share in recorded history.  

The rise in profits was driven by private non-financial corporations gross operating surplus (GOS), which grew 10.6%, driven by Mining. Mining operating surplus rose 7.7% in 2019-20 due to strong international demand coupled with higher iron ore prices. The rise in private non-financial corporations GOS excluding mining reflects the receipt of COVID-19 related subsidies by business. Subsidies that were not used by businesses to pay wages or operating expenses were retained in profits. 

The profit share measure should not be interpreted as a direct measure of 'profitability', for which it is necessary to relate profits to the level of capital assets utilised.

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Market sector multifactor productivity decreases

On an hours worked basis, market sector multifactor productivity (MFP) fell 0.7% in 2019-20. Market sector GVA fell 1.2%, recording a decline for the first time, with hours worked (-0.9 percentage points) the main detractor. Partly offsetting the GVA fall was subdued growth in capital services (+0.5 percentage points). 

Market sector labour productivity grew 0.6% in 2019-20, as the fall in hours worked outstripped the fall in GVA. On the quality adjusted hours worked basis labour productivity fell 0.1%. The weaker result on this basis reflects a positive contribution from changes to labour composition, due to educational attainment and work experience. 

Caution needs to be exercised in interpreting the MFP results, which are derived as a residual and are therefore sensitive to any measurement errors in the output and input measures. Furthermore, because the figures for productivity growth are relatively low, such errors assume relatively greater importance. In addition, year to year movements may reflect variations in capacity utilisation over business cycles.

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National net saving rises for the fourth consecutive year

Total national net saving was $125.2 billion in 2019-20, with all sectors, except general government, recording positive net saving.

General government net saving fell $113.4 billion in 2019-20, to -$83.7 billion. The fall was driven by increased spending on COVID-19 related support payments to business and households. These included support payments to business through the JobKeeper and Boosting Cash Flow for Employers programs, and to households through the Economic Support Payments, the Coronavirus Supplement and increased JobSeeker payments to households. 

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Australia becomes a net lender to the rest of the world

Following 46 consecutive years of net borrowing, Australia became a net lender to the rest of the world in 2019-20. The switch to net lending was supported by high levels of saving across the majority of sectors, as well as weakness in capital investment with households and businesses choosing to preserve liquidity in the uncertain economic environment.

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2018-19 supply and use tables

The ABS compiles supply and use (SU) tables to generate balanced annual estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The SU tables are compiled from 1994-95 to 2018-19 and result in the annual statistical discrepancies for this period being zero. Years prior to 1994-95 have a non-zero statistical discrepancy because SU tables have not been compiled, and so the data remain unbalanced. Similarly, estimates for the latest year (in this case 2019-20) have a statistical discrepancy because SU tables have not yet been constructed.

The supply table measures the goods and services produced in Australia and imports, while the use table measures the use of goods and services for intermediate consumption, final consumption, gross fixed capital formation, changes in inventories and exports. Domestic supply and intermediate consumption are cross-classified by industry and product categories, while the other components are simply classified by product category. The use table also provides information on the generation of income from production for each industry.

A large number of data sources are used to compile the national accounts, such as business activity surveys, household expenditure surveys, investment surveys, foreign trade statistics and government finance statistics. In order to reflect changes in methods, concepts, classifications and data source, this release of the Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA) incorporates the following key revisions:

  • Industry estimates of gross value added (GVA) and gross operating surplus (GOS) were revised back to 2016-17 as a result of updated input data from Australian Industry, 2018-19 (cat. no. 8155.0).
  • Household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) was revised back to 2016-17 to incorporate updated source data provided by Australian Gambling Statistics and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
  • Insurance estimates were revised back to 2016-17 after incorporating data on non-life insurance claims from APRA for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years. Due to a number of natural disasters over this period, the projected claims used in last year's estimates were significantly lower than actual claims. Actual claims replaced projected claims for these years. The revisions impact GVA, GOS and HFCE.
  • Government final consumption expenditure and public gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) were revised back to 2016-17 to incorporate audited annual data provided by State and Commonwealth Treasuries.

The September quarter 2020 issue of Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0), to be released on 2 December 2020, will also incorporate these revisions.  

The SU tables (cat. no. 5217.0) are publicly available for download on the ABS.Stat website (http://stat.data.abs.gov.au/). Data from the SU tables are used to construct Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001). These products present structural detail underlying the Australian economy and provide weights for price indexes.

Related national accounts products

Published releases

Australian National Accounts: Supply Use Tables (cat. no. 5217.0)

The 2018-19 issue of Australian National Accounts: Supply Use Tables for the period 1994-95 to 2018-19 was published on 30 October 2020. The Supply Use tables were introduced in the annual National Accounts in 1998 as an integral part of the annual compilation of the Australian System of National Accounts. They are used to ensure Gross Domestic Product is balanced for all three approaches (production, expenditure and income) and provide the annual benchmarks from which the quarterly estimates are compiled.

Upcoming releases

Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (Product Details) (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001)

The 2017-18 issue of Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables will be released on 13 November 2020. It provides details regarding Australian production, imports, intermediate usage, final usage, exports, margins and taxes less subsidies on products and margins for each Input-Output product. There are over 900 Input-Output products classified to the industry from which each originates such as agriculture, manufacturing and construction.

Australian National Accounts: State Accounts (cat. no. 5220.0)

The 2019-20 issue of the Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, will be released on 20 November 2020. It provides detailed, annual estimates of Gross state product (GSP) for all states and territories. These are estimated using the expenditure, income and production approaches. Also published are estimates of household and agricultural incomes. Many, but not all, estimates are available as chain volume measures as well as in current prices.

Estimates of Industry Multifactor Productivity (cat. no. 5260.0.55.002)

The 2019-20 issue of Estimates of Industry Multifactor Productivity will be released on 30 November 2020. It provides updated estimates of multifactor productivity (MFP) for the 16 industries defined to comprise the market sector. Longer time series are produced for 12 selected industries. Also included are productivity growth cycles for market sector industries and selected industries aggregates back to 1998-99 and 1973-74, respectively.
The statistical release includes experimental estimates of sources of aggregate labour productivity growth and its industry origin. The release includes the experimental industry productivity growth cycles, where estimates of growth cycles for individual industries are provided. Experimental estimates of state productivity back to 1994-95 are also included.

Experimental Estimates of Industry Level KLEMS Multifactor Productivity (cat. no. 5260.0.55.004)

Since 2016, the ABS has published experimental estimates of industry level KLEMS MFP for the 16 market sector industries. The term KLEMS represents the five input categories - Capital (K), Labour (L), Energy (E), Materials (M) and Services (S). By explicitly identifying the role of intermediate inputs in the production process, KLEMS facilitates a more rigorous analysis of the determinants of output growth at the industry level. The 2017-18 issue of Experimental Estimates of Industry Level KLEMS Multifactor Productivity will be released on 30 November 2020.

Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0)

The September quarter 2020 issue of Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, will be released on 2 December 2020. It provides quarterly and annual estimates of Australia's National and State Accounts. At a national level, this includes expenditure, income and production approaches to estimating gross domestic product (GDP), and income accounts for all sectors of the economy. This product also provides estimates of state final demand for each state and territory, but not gross state product. Many, but not all, estimates in this product are available as chain volume measures as well as in current prices, and in original, seasonally adjusted and trend terms.

Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth (cat. no. 5232.0)

The September quarter 2020 issue of Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth, will be released on 17 December 2020. It provides quarterly estimates of the financial flows between sectors of the domestic economy and with the rest of the world. In addition, the publication provides estimates of capital accounts and financial assets and liabilities of each sector and various subsectors. Other key estimates within the publication include the demand for credit by non-financial domestic institutional sectors during the quarter, and their corresponding levels of credit outstanding.

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Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5204.0.