Definition: Business Counts are based on snapshots of actively trading businesses as at June 2009, 2010 and 2011 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Business Register (ABSBR). The ABSBR contains counts and rates of business entries and exits from the Australian economy as well as counts and rates pertaining to the survival of businesses. This count only includes businesses which actively traded in goods or services during the reference period.
Most businesses in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN). These businesses are then included on the whole-of-government register of businesses, the Australian Business Register (ABR), which is maintained by the Australian Taxation Office. For a relatively small number of businesses, the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS economic statistics purposes and the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with these ‘non-profiled’ businesses. These businesses constitute the profiled population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse groups of businesses.
The methods used to quantify employment in this release are based on "headcounts" of employees. In the non profiled population, ABS indirectly collects employment data through Payment Summary information, supplied by the ATO. Businesses report "number of payees", which is defined as the estimated number of individuals to whom payments are made. This will reflect the total number of persons employed by the business "throughout the year" rather than an estimate of current employees at a point in time. Payments to people under a voluntary agreement or labour hire arrangement are excluded. In the profiled population, businesses report "employment" as defined by the number of persons who are employed by a public or private employer and receive remuneration in wages or salaries (including working proprietors and working partners), or are paid a retainer fee by their employer. Employment excludes non-salaried directors; volunteers; persons paid by commission only; and self-employed persons such as consultants and contractors. These data are collected through direct contact with businesses in the profiled population and reflect a "point in time" headcount of current employees.
Note: Percentage changes of business counts from year to year reflect entries and exists of business. It is important to note that the percentage changes also reflect turnover and staffing level changes in businesses. Therefore, a large percentage change, for example in businesses employing 200+ staff, does not necessarily mean an exist or entry of large firms but may instead relate to changes in staffing levels, resulting in a business being assigned to a different ‘number of staff’ cohort.
Source: Australia Bureau of Statistics, Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Cat. 8165.0 (Jun 2011, Released 31 Jan 2012. June 2012 data will be available in May 2013).