Tradies lead $305 billion industry

The housing industry continues to play a prominent role in the Australian economy, and data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that tradesmen are doing much of the work.

The figures show that the construction industry generated $305 billion in total income, contributed $99 billion to the Australian economy and employed 950,000 people during 2011-12.

"Two-thirds of the jobs in the industry were in construction services - that's the carpenters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, and other tradespeople," said William Milne, Director of Integrated Collections at the ABS.

"The rest were split between building construction and civil engineering."

Overall, construction contracting and subcontracting activity generated income of $233 billion.

"Of this, $99 billion was in construction services, while building construction added another $74 billion and heavy and civil engineering generated $59 billion", Milne said.

The majority of income generated through contracting and sub contracting work came from houses (24 per cent) and non-residential buildings (31 per cent), followed by pipelines (other than water) and other heavy-duty construction (11 per cent).

Sales of other goods and services, such as sales of developed land and new houses, added a further $67 billion.

The total expenses of construction businesses were $275 billion, of which the main items were purchases ($82 billion), payments to other businesses for trade services, building and construction work ($77 billion) and labour costs of $60 billion.

"The construction industry reported an operating profit before tax of $30 billion, which works out as a profit margin of ten per cent", Mr Milne concluded.