Weekly data dump – Australia has more businesses than ever before says the ABS’ latest data

ABSEven the GFC couldn’t stop business growth, say new Bureau of Statistics data, as Australia has 58,619 more businesses now than in 2007.

Australia had 2,132,412 actively trading businesses in June 2011, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits , Jun 2007 to Jun 2011 released today.

That figure is higher than in the last such count, with business numbers rising from the 2,073,793 businesses operating in June 2007.

Australian businesses remain small in terms of employment and turnover, with just 826,389 (38.8%) of businesses employing even a solitary worker, compared to 1,306,023 non-employing businesses.ABS

As the ABS’ summary points out:

“Of the employing businesses, 739,312 (89.5%) employed less than 20 employees. This comprised 508,674 businesses with 1-4 employees and 230,638 businesses with 5-19 employees.”

Just 125,123 (5.9%) businesses have turnover above $2m per annum.

Only 6071 businesses employ more than 200 people.

In the mid-range, 81,006 businesses employ between 20 and 199 employees.

The report also points out that 93.5 per cent of new business numbers counted in the survey period were micro-businesses employing zero to four staff. That category is also the most likely to have exited business during the survey period, with attrition of 16.9% for micro businesses easily ahead of exit rates from all other sized businesses.

My Business comments

One of the oddest things we experience at My Business is companies approaching us with “solutions for small business”. When we inquire about their intended market, they often mention companies with 200, 500 or more employees.

This latest ABS data confirms, yet again, that it is entirely nonsensical to consider businesses of that size “small” in an Australian context.

As this data shows, and has shown in every release of this data we have read over several years, the most common type of business in Australia has no employees. The next most common type of business has a staff of fewer than five.

It’s time that industry responded with more realistic naming and targeting of its products. My Business will continue to point out the reality of the Australian business population to readers, vendors, interviewees and anyone who will listen!

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