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Small Business Data Card

Release date: 5 December 2014

The Small Business Data Card contains some key information on Australia's small businesses including demographics, employment, counts by industry sector and contribution to the economy.

Numbers of small businesses by employment size

This bar chart shows the numbers of small businesses in financial years 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 by employment sizes (0 employees, 1-4 employees and 5-19 employees) based on ABS Cat. No. 8165.0.

Source: ABS Cat. No. 8165.0, Counts of Australian Businesses.

Note 1: Small businesses, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, are those with less than 20 employees. Actively trading businesses are those that have an ABN and are actively remitting in respect of a GST role, or those businesses that are monitored directly by the ABS and are determined to be "active".

An employing business is defined as one that has an income tax withholding (ITW) role.

Text description for Numbers of small businesses by employment size

Small businesses by industry sector, June 2013
Industry Sector Number of businesses (% of total industry) Number of small businesses (% of total small businesses) Small businesses as % of all businesses
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 185 596
(8.9)
183 401
(9.1)
98.82
Mining 8 087
(0.4)
7 489
(0.4)
92.61
Manufacturing 83 598
(4.0)
77 116
(3.8)
92.25
Electricity, gas, water and waste services 5 596
(0.3)
5 254
(0.3)
93.89
Construction 328 481
(15.8)
323 676
(16.0)
98.54
Wholesale trade 74 507
(3.6)
70 382
(3.5)
94.46
Retail trade 133 378
(6.4)
127 206
(6.3)
95.37
Accommodation and food services 80 416
(3.9)
73 886
(3.6)
91.88
Transport, postal and warehousing 123 434
(5.9)
121 232
(6.0)
98.22
Information media and telecommunications 17 850
(0.9)
17 147
(0.8)
96.06
Financial and insurance services 166 992
(8.0)
165 875
(8.2)
99.33
Rental, hiring and real estate services 219 884
(10.6)
218 419
(10.8)
99.33
Professional, scientific and technical services 241 812
(11.6)
236 684
(11.7)
97.88
Administrative and support services 76 947
(3.7)
72 934
(3.6)
94.78
Public administration and safety 7 270
(0.3)
6 748
(0.3)
92.82
Education and training 25 132
(1.2)
23 410
(1.2)
93.15
Healthcare and social assistance 105 659
(5.1)
101 998
(5.0)
96.54
Arts and recreation services 25 687
(1.2)
24 832
(1.2)
96.67
Other services 85 628
(4.1)
84 274
(4.2)
98.42
Not classified 83 672
(4.0)
83 103
(4.1)
99.32
TOTAL INDUSTRY 2 079 626 2 025 066 97.38

Source:ABS Cat. No. 8165.0, Businesses by Main State by Industry Class by Employment Size Ranges, June 2011, June 2012 & June 2013 (released 23 June 2014).

Note 2: May not sum to total as small business industry calculations are based on rounded data.

Numbers of micro entities by turnover

This bar chart shows the approximate numbers of 'micro entities' (ATO term) over four financial years based on ATO Compliance Program data, various years.

Source: ATO Taxation Statistics.

Note 3: These numbers are based on the ATO definition of micro entities, which have a total business income equal to or more than $1 but less than $2 million. The count for each year includes businesses processed up to 31 October of the following year. Each count only includes businesses who have lodged a return.

Text description for Numbers of micro entities by turnover.

Inflation-adjusted small business indicator rate

Line graph showing the movements in the real small business variable lending rate (residential-secured, term) and the real small business variable lending rate (other, term) over the 10 years to the June quarter 2014.

Text description for Inflation-adjusted small business indicator rate

Selected small business statistics

  • Small business contributed around 33 per cent of private industry value added in 2012-13.
    Note 4: IVA, or business output, is the measure of the contribution by businesses in each industry to gross domestic product.
  • Small businesses employed around 4.5 million people in 2012-13, approximately 43 per cent of private sector employment (see note 4 above).
  • Small business operators—demographics (as at June 2006):
    • 68 per cent of small business operators were male;
    • 32 per cent were female.
    • 29 per cent born overseas; 71 per cent born in Australia.
    • 58 per cent aged 30–50 years; 33 per cent aged over 50 years; 9 per cent aged less than 30 years.
    • 92 per cent operated one business; 6 per cent operated two businesses; 2 per cent operated three or more businesses.
  • 18 368 small exporters shipped goods to the value of $1.3 billion in 2012-13. This represents 42.7 per cent of all goods exporters and 0.5 per cent of the total value of all goods exported.
    Note 5: A non-standard definition of a small exporter is used in this publication. Small exporters are defined as having fewer than 20 payees and estimated annual GST turnover range less than $1m and exports of less than $1m during the reference period.

Sources: ABS Cat. No. 8155.0; 8127.0; 5368.0.55.006.

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