Business Count data shows the rise of the Uber driver

Yesterday saw the release by the ABS of their annual Business Count data which tells us the total number of businesses in the country. The data is available at national, state, SA2 and LGA level (with varying degrees of detail).

For the year to June 2019 Australia added almost 62,500 new businesses at a rate of 2.7% y/y. All industry sectors, with the exception of Agriculture, saw increases. Large gains came in Professional Services (+9,797 or +3.4%), Construction (+9,302 or +2.4%), Healthcare (+6,376 or +4.7%) and Adminstrative Services (+5,056 or +5.5%). However the largest gain of all was in the Transport, Postal & Warehousing sector which increased by 13,505 businesses at a rate of 7.7%. However, when we consider this in more detail we see that almost 10,000 of those new businesses were non-employing taxi businesses (an increase of 41.3%); the rise of the Uber!

Growth in Queensland was slightly more modest with 9,141 new businesses added at a rate of 2.0% for the year.  The Transport, Postal & Warehousing sector was a big growth area in Queensland as it was nationally although the scale of the Uber-effect was somewhat smaller. Transport, Postal & Warehousing businesses were up 1,093 or 3.4% with more than half of those increases coming from non-employing taxis; which represented just 9.3% growth. Other strong sectors included Healthcare & Social Assistance (+1,470 or +5.6%) and Education & Training (+288 or +4.6%). Although at a national level the only sector to see a decline was Agriculture, in Queensland Mining (down 0.6%) and Accommodation & Food Services (down 0.3%) joined Agriculture (down 0.5%). Interestingly the fall in the Accommodation & Food Services sector was all down to a drop of 105 Takeaway Food businesses.

Closer to home Cairns Regional Council area saw total growth of just 1.6% with 224 businesses added over the year. More than a quarter of these were non-employing taxi businesses which grew by 60 or 6.9%. Healthcare & Social Assistance also grew strongly (up 60 or +7.1%) while Accommodation & Food Services added 36 at a rate of 4.7%. Declines were seen in Agriculture (down 27 or -3.7%) and Wholesale (down 10 or 3.0%).

Townsville City Council added just 16 businesses at a rate of 0.1% y/y in what was a difficult year for the city.

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