Australian Industry

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Presents estimates derived using a combination of data from the Economic Activity Survey and business tax data sourced from the Australian Tax Office

Reference period
2017-18 financial year

Key statistics

  • The mining industry increased 26.0% ($21.7b) in EBITDA for the year.   
  • The construction industry increased 9.8% ($4.1b) in EBITDA.  
  • The wholesale trade industry increased 24.5% ($4.4b) in EBITDA.  
  • The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry decreased 12.9% ($3.0b). 

Key points

Australian Industry estimates report on the performance of selected industries compiled from the annual Economic Activity Survey (EAS), which excludes most of the General government sector (except for Subdivision 28 Water supply, sewerage and drainage services) and entities classified to Division K Financial and insurance services. For more information about the scope and coverage of EAS please refer to the Methodology page.

  • The Mining industry grew strongly in 2017-18, reflected in an increase of 26.0% ($21.7b) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year.
  • The Construction industry experienced stronger growth with EBITDA up 9.8% ($4.1b).
  • The Wholesale trade and Manufacturing industries both rebounded from 2016-17 with strong growth in EBITDA of 24.5% ($4.4b) and 10.8% ($3.5b) respectively.
  • In contrast, the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry declined across all key data items, with EBITDA falling by 12.9% ($3.0b).
  • The largest contributors to employment growth were service industries, with the largest growth reported by the Professional, scientific and technical services industry (64,000 people or 6.2%), the private sector Health care and social assistance industry (58,000 people, or 5.1%) and the Administrative and support services industry (54,000 people or 6.3%).

Key figures

ANZSIC DivisionEmployment at end JuneEBITDA(a)
 2016-172017-182016-17 to 2017-182016-172017-182016-17 to 2017-18
A Agriculture484482-0.423 05920 082-12.9
B Mining1571687.083 472105 16326.0
C Manufacturing8308401.232 85336 39710.8
D Electricity, gas, water and waste services1051093.834 51935 4622.7
E Construction1 0701 1154.242 16146 2979.8
F Wholesale trade545540-0.9^17 89222 28424.5
G Retail trade1 2891 3041.223 20624 0183.5
H Accommodation and food services1 0081 0282.09 98310 1071.2
I Transport, postal and warehousing5865982.031 99433 0273.2
J Information media and telecommunications168167-0.618 83419 0501.1
L Rental, hiring and real estate services4064193.257 72657 348-0.7
M Professional, scientific and technical services1 0381 1026.229 59932 4769.7
N Administrative and support services8599136.37 9407 813-1.6
O Public administration and safety (private)78780.0^8281 08731.3
P Education and training (private)4004123.04 2094 2140.1
Q Health care and social assistance (private)1 1441 2025.123 51124 3333.5
R Arts and recreation services1922014.75 0015 71114.2
S Other services4834993.3*2 3702 060-13.1

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
a. Earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation.
Note: This table excludes Division K Financial and insurance services and most businesses/organisations classified to the General government sector (except for Subdivision 28 Water supply, sewerage and drainage services). For more information about the scope of the Economic Activity Survey, please refer to the Explanatory Notes.

For more industry level information please see the Industry analysis section in this release.

Industry analysis

  • Estimates in this issue cover the performance of selected industries compiled from the annual Economic Activity Survey (EAS) and from Business Activity Statement (BAS) data reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) expressed in current prices.
  • Employment is reported at the end of June 2018.
  • Financial items are reported for the financial year ending June. However, estimates are not adjusted for situations where businesses report to the ABS on an off-June reporting year and can be impacted by price fluctuations. This particularly impacts on estimates for the Mining industry (see below). For a limited range of estimates adjusted to a June financial year basis, see the 'Off-June adjusted estimates by subdivision' data cube. For more information about the impact of off-June year reporting on estimates, see the Technical note on Off-June Year adjusted estimates in this issue.
  • For more information on the scope and coverage of the collection for Australian Industry, 2017-18, please refer to the Methodology page.


The Mining industry experienced strong growth in 2017-18 across all key data items:

  • EBITDA for the Mining industry grew 26.0% ($21.7b).
  • The Export Price Index for Mining grew 5.0% between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years, and 28.7% between calendar years 2016 and 2017.
  • Oil and gas extraction subdivision EBITDA grew 55.4% ($9.7b) driven by strong exports.
  • Growth in the Coal mining subdivision was also driven by continuing strong exports with 40.6% ($7.6b) growth in EBITDA.
  • Employment grew 7.0% (11,000 people) largely driven by the Exploration and other mining support services subdivision in response to growth in the upstream mining subdivisions.

For more detailed financial performance information on the Mining industry please refer to the 'Mining operations' data cube in the Data downloads section.

Estimates for the Mining industry largely reflect calendar year reporting for 2017.


The Construction industry recorded strong growth across all data items with growth recorded in all subdivisions:

  • Building construction EBITDA grew 16.1% ($2.3b). This increased activity was reflected in the 7.3% growth in the value of building work done in Australia.
  • Continuing low interest rates combined with strong price growth, as reflected in the Residential Property Price Index, fuelled growth in residential housing construction, particularly in the eastern state capitals.
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction returned to growth following four years of contraction, with EBITDA increasing 7.2% ($224m).
  • Government expenditure on large scale infrastructure projects showed strong growth, as reflected in the 29.7% increase in the value of engineering construction work done by private sector firms on public projects.
  • The Construction services subdivision also experienced strong growth with EBITDA increasing 6.4% ($1.6b). This subdivision benefitted from the increased activity mentioned above via subcontracting to businesses in Building construction and Heavy and civil engineering construction subdivisions.


The Manufacturing industry grew 5.4% in sales and service income following five consecutive years of contraction.

  • Primary metal and metal product manufacturing subdivision sales and service income grew 12.0% ($5.7b) driven by Alumina production class which rose 29.4% ($1.7b). The Output Producer Price Index for Alumina production rose 36.7% while the same index for Aluminium smelting rose 19.1%.
  • Food product manufacturing sales and services income grew 4.2% ($3.6b) largely due to a 5.6% increase in exports by Food product manufacturing businesses, but input costs including utilities expenses also rose, reflected in the 4.4% ($2.3b) rise in purchases of goods and materials and resulting in a slight decline in EBITDA of 0.9% ($55m).
  • Petroleum and coal product manufacturing also contributed to the growth with a 16.6% ($2.2b) increase in sales and services income. This growth was also reflected in the 14.5% rise in the Output Producer Price Index for Petroleum and coal product manufacturing.
  • Input costs rose in the form of increased electricity (14.4%) and gas (22.1%) prices, as recorded in the Input Producer Price Index for inputs to Manufacturing.
  • Wages and salaries in the Manufacturing industry grew 2.9% ($1.6b), supported by a 1.2% (10,000 people) increase in employment.

For ANZSIC class level information on the Manufacturing industry please refer to the 'Manufacturing industry' data cube in the Data downloads section.

Wholesale trade

The Wholesale trade industry experienced growth across most key indicators:

  • Sales and service income increased by 2.4% ($11.9b).
  • Wages and salaries decreased by 2.1% ($789m).
  • Employment decreased by 0.9% (5,000 people) contributing to the decline in wages and salaries.
  • EBITDA increased by 24.5% ($4.4b).
  • Basic material wholesaling sales and service income grew 4.0% ($5.8b) and EBITDA increased by 83.8% ($3.0b), supported by increases in prices for petroleum and gas products, with the Export Price Indexes for these products increasing 20.8% and 14.4% respectively.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

This industry experienced decreases in most key indicators in 2017-18 after a record wheat crop in 2016-17. Additionally the industry was subject to drought conditions across much of Australia in 2017-18.

This industry was dominated by Agriculture subdivision results:

  • Sales and service income fell 2.4% ($1.9b).
  • Fodder and utility costs increased, leading to a 3.7% ($1.4b) rise in purchases of goods and materials.
  • EBITDA fell by 14.0% ($2.8b).

Professional, scientific and technical services

  • This industry recorded the strongest employment growth of all industries, rising 64,000 people (6.2%).
  • The industry benefitted from increased demand for their services from upstream industries including Heavy and civil engineering construction which experienced strong growth as mentioned above.

Health care and social assistance

  • Employment in Health care and social assistance grew 5.1% (58,000 people).
  • Strong growth was recorded in both the Medical and other health care services and Social assistance services subdivisions with 3.9% (15,000 people) and 11.5% (40,000 people) increases respectively.
  • Much of the employment growth was due to structural changes within the industry brought on by the NDIS roll-out as the number of NDIS service providers in the industry grew strongly over this period (NDIS Annual report).

Administrative and support services

  • Employment grew 6.3% (54,000 people), mainly driven by the Administrative services subdivision.

Business performance by size

Micro businesses

Micro businesses are more likely than other businesses to be sole proprietors and partnerships, and also include a large number of non-employing businesses. These businesses have low or nil wages, and the owner operators pay themselves out of business profits rather than receiving a wage or salary. This can have a distorting effect on wages and salaries and operating profit before tax (OPBT) when compared to other key indicators.

  • Micro businesses (those with 0-4 employees) contributed 3,021,000 people (27%) of overall employment of Total selected industries in 2017-18.
  • Employment also grew faster in 2017-18 for micro businesses than other businesses, driven by Administrative and support services and Accommodation and food services.
  • Micro businesses also dominated growth in OPBT, contributing 42.3% ($29.0b) of the overall increase for the year ($68.5b).
  • However, micro businesses accounted for only a quarter ($6.2b) of overall wages and salaries growth ($24.4b).

Small businesses

  • Small businesses (those with 5-19 employees) contributed a 10-20% share of most key data items in 2017-18, and experienced growth in line with the overall total for most items. However, employment and OPBT shrank, which was in contrast to other sized businesses.
  • Most industries contributed to the decline in employment, driven by Accommodation and food services and Administrative and support services. In contrast, the Professional, scientific and technical services and Health care and social assistance experienced positive growth.
  • Mining was the main driver for the decline in OPBT, followed by Construction.

Medium businesses

  • Medium businesses (those with 20-199 employees) contributed 20-30% of Total selected industries for the majority of key data items, and 15-25% of the overall growth.
  • An exception to this trend was OPBT, where medium businesses grew 2.7%, accounting for only 2.0% ($1.4b) of overall growth.
  • The flat OPBT result was largely driven by Professional, scientific and technical services and Administrative and support services, which constrained OPBT growth by declining $2.5b and $905m respectively.

Large businesses

  • Large businesses (those with 200 or more employees) contributed over 40% of the overall total for most key data items, with the exception of employment where their share was only 31.7%.
  • Large businesses also accounted for close to half of the growth for most items, except for employment (23.8% of overall growth).
  • Employment growth (80,000 people) was driven by Health care and social assistance (37,000 people) and Administrative and support services (31,000 people).
  • OPBT growth ($38.8b) was driven by Mining ($19.1b) as well as the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services ($7.0b) and Manufacturing ($5.6b) industries.

Further information

For more information and estimates classified by business size refer to Table 5 'Business size by industry division' in the 'Australian industry by division' data cube in the Data downloads section.

State and territory performance

  • In 2017-18, east coast states New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland accounted for the largest share of each of the three key state economic indicators: sales and service income, employment and wages and salaries.
  • The key economic indicators for most states and territories were comparable to the population distribution in the Estimated Resident Population. The exceptions were Western Australia, where sales and service income accounted for 13.6% of the national total relative to a population share of 10.4%, and South Australia, where sales and service income accounted for 5.7% relative to a population share of 6.9%.

State and territory growth

  • The three eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland drove growth for sales and service income, employment and wages and salaries.
  • All three indicators grew the most in New South Wales, driven mainly by the Construction and Professional, scientific and technical services industries.
  • Victoria's growth for all three indicators was also driven mainly by Construction and Professional, scientific and technical services, as well as the Health care and social assistance industry.
  • Queensland's growth in sales and service income was driven by the Mining industry, while wages and salaries were influenced by the Administrative and support services industry.
  • The sole declining movement in employment was noted by the Northern Territory with a decrease of 3,000 persons (-2.7%) across multiple industries.

Sales and service income across states and territories

  • New South Wales had the largest share of sales and service income at 32.4% ($1,062.5b), followed by Victoria at 24.9% ($817.0b) and Queensland at 19.5% ($639.7b).
  • In all three of these states, the largest income earning industries were Wholesale trade, Construction and Retail trade.

Employment across states and territories

  • At the end of June 2018, New South Wales had the largest share of national employment at about 3.7 million people (33.4%), followed by Victoria at about 2.9 million people (25.8%) and Queensland at about 2.2 million people (19.5%).
  • In New South Wales, the Retail trade and Professional, scientific and technical services industries were the largest employers.
  • The Retail trade industry was the largest employer in Victoria and South Australia.
  • In Queensland and Tasmania the Retail trade and private sector Health care and social assistance industries were the largest employers.
  • In Western Australia, the Construction and Retail trade industries were the largest employers.
  • In the Northern Territory, the Construction industry contributed the most to employment.
  • Within the Australian Capital Territory the largest employer was the Professional, scientific and technical services industry.

Wages and salaries across states and territories

  • New South Wales accounted for the largest share of wages and salaries at 33.4% ($192.5b), followed by Victoria at 25.3% ($145.8b) and Queensland at 19.0% ($109.9b).
  • Within New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory the Professional, scientific and technical services industry had the largest share of wages and salaries.
  • Within South Australia the Manufacturing industry had the largest share of wages and salaries.
  • Within Tasmania the Health care and social assistance had the largest share of wages and salaries.
  • The largest source of wages and salaries in Western Australia was the Mining industry, whilst in Queensland and the Northern Territory the Construction industry had the largest share.
  • Tasmania had the lowest average wages and salaries per person employed at approximately $43,100, while Northern Territory had the highest wages and salaries per employed person at approximately $66,600.

Note that average wages and salaries have been calculated using wages and salaries for the full financial year 2017-18 which exclude the drawings of working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses, whereas employment is a point in time estimate at June 2018 and includes working proprietors and partners, so the ratio should be used with caution.

Further information

For information about the method used to derive state and territory estimates, please refer to the Technical note on state and territory estimates in this issue.

Data downloads

Australian industry by division

Australian industry by subdivision

Manufacturing industry

Off-June year adjusted estimates by industry subdivision

Mining operations

Experimental estimates for auxiliary finance and insurance services

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