The communications sector has been growing in real terms over the past decade. While it experienced weaker growth from 2008 to 2013, the sector improved markedly from 2013. Although growth has recently slowed slightly, the sector still grew by $192 million in the year to September 2017.

Growth is faster than the overall economy

This is a line chart. The y axis shows the quarterly change (per cent). The x axis shows time from 1997 to 2017. Shows that the communications sector has historically experienced higher growth than the overall economy. However, after a couple of recent negative growth quarters, the sector grew by a modest by 1.7 per cent in the year to September 2017, lower than GDP growth of 2.8 per cent over the same period.

Note: Excludes post.

Source: ABS 5206.0—Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Sept 2017, Table 6; BCR calculations.

Data link: Growth is faster than the overall economy

The communications sector has historically experienced higher growth than the overall economy. However, after a couple of recent negative growth quarters, the sector grew by a modest by 1.7 per cent in the year to September 2017, lower than GDP growth of 2.8 per cent over the same period.

The sector's composition is stable

This is a stacked bar chart. The y axis shows the share of GDP (per cent). The x axis shows two time periods 2006–10, and 2010–15. Shows the sector's composition changed little between 2006−10 and 2010−15, although small decreases in the telecommunications, publishing, and postal and courier pick-up and delivery subsectors meant an overall decrease of 0.3 percentage points in the sector's share of economic activity.

Note: Includes post.

Source: ABS 5209.0.55.001—Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables, 2006–07 to 2014–15, Table 5; BCR calculations.

Data link: The sector's composition is stable

The sector's composition changed little between 2006−10 and 2010−15, although small decreases in the telecommunications, publishing, and postal and courier pick-up and delivery subsectors meant an overall decrease of 0.3 percentage points in the sector's share of economic activity.

But the contribution to economic growth has changed

This is a stacked bar chart. The y axis shows growth in per cent. The x axis shows two time periods - 2006–10 and 2010–15. Shows the communications sector output grew by 5.2 per cent overall from 2010 to 2015. While a contraction in publishing reduced sector growth (-5.3 per cent), this was largely offset by an increase in telecommunications (+5.2 per cent).

Note: Includes post.

Source: ABS 5209.0.55.001—Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables, 2006–07 to 2014–15, Table 5; BCR calculations.

Data link: But the contribution to economic growth has changed

Communications sector output grew by 5.2 per cent overall from 2010 to 2015. While a contraction in publishing reduced sector growth (-5.3 per cent), this was largely offset by an increase in telecommunications (+5.2 per cent).

The value chain shows less labour reliance

The chart shows two bar charts—all industries and communications sector. All industries comprises - 44 per cent intermediate inputs, 22 per cent gross operating surplus, 26 per cent compensation of employees, 6 per cent imports, 2 per cent taxes. Communications comprises 49 per cent intermediate inputs, 26 per cent gross operating surplus, 18 per cent compensation of employees, 6 per cent imports, and 1 per cent taxes.

Note: Includes post.

Source: ABS 5209.0.55.001—Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Table, 2014–15, Table 5; BCR calculations.

Data link: The value chain shows less labour reliance

The chart shows the returns to various parts of the value chain in the communications sector. In aggregate the sector has higher returns to intermediate inputs and capital (as shown by gross operating surplus and mixed income), and lower returns to labour than all industries.

The fifth highest sector for investment

This is a bar chart of overall capital expenditure by industry as a percentage. Shows investment in the communications sector comprised 5.3 per cent of all capital expenditure in the economy (excluding the general government sector) and was the fifth highest of all sectors.

Note: Excludes post.

Source: ABS 8155.0—Australian Industry, 2015–16, Australian Industry by division, Table 4; BCR calculations.

Data link: The fifth highest sector for investment

Investment in the communications sector comprised 5.3 per cent of all capital expenditure in the economy (excluding the general government sector) and was the fifth highest of all sectors.

Contribution to economic growth has varied

This is a bar chart showing quarterly contribution to economic growth. The y axis shows the contribution to quarterly GDP growth (per cent) and the x axis shows time from 2007 to 2017. Shows the communications sector has historically contributed positively to economic growth notwithstanding a weaker contribution from 2007 to early 2014, where there was a zero or very small contribution to growth, reflecting the sector’s performance in that period. There was no measureable contribution by the sector to overall GDP growth in the September 2017 quarter.

Note: Excludes post.

Source: ABS 5206.0—Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, September 2017, Table 6; BCR calculations.

Data link: Contribution to economic growth has varied

The communications sector has historically contributed positively to economic growth notwithstanding a weaker contribution from 2007 to early 2014, where there was a zero or very small contribution to growth, reflecting the sector’s performance in that period. There was no measureable contribution by the sector to overall GDP growth in the September 2017 quarter.