Skip to content

Statistics for Year 12 HSC Economics

Last updated: 6 August 2023. Visit bloom.study/stats for the most up-to-date version.

Table of contents

Introduction

In HSC Economics, using up-to-date examples and statistics is extremely important, as they act as evidence to strengthen your argument. It also demonstrates to the marker that you have engaged with the course content.

Here are some pointers to help you effectively use statistics:

  • Relevance is key: Use statistics as supporting evidence for an argument, not just for the sake of it. They should enhance your points, not merely exist as standalone facts. For example, just stating the unemployment rate isn’t that helpful, but if the argument that you are making is that in 2023, the Australian economy was at a level of unemployment below the NAIRU, then including the unemployment rate as well as a NAIRU estimate would strengthen your argument.
  • Time periods matter: It is wise to use statistics from different time periods. It is better to use more recent statistics, but comparing recent data with historical data can be helpful to demonstrate a trend or the effect of a certain policy.
  • Broad trends over fine details: Exact memorisation of every statistic to the last digit isn’t required. Generally, two significant figures is enough to outline a trend and bolster your argument. However, ensure precision for well-known statistics which have one source (namely the ABS or RBA) like unemployment, inflation, or the cash rate. The reality is that most markers do not have the time to check every single statistic exactly. If you have forgotten the exact number, feel free to use language such as “around” or “approximately”, or specify a range e.g. “The participation rate has been around 66-67% over the past few years” or “The inflation rate has broader stayed within the 2-3% target band up until the end of 2014.”

Since many textbooks would be out-of-date by the time your do your HSC exam, you will need to do some research yourself. That’s why we have compiled many of the important examples and statistics below. Please share it with your friends!

Sources for statistics

Some good sources for statistics related to Australia include:

Some good sources for global statistics include:

Bloom is an AI economics tutor designed to help you find relevant examples and statistics to support your arguments, and provide the source.

Important statistics for Australia

  • Real GDP growth rate: 2.3% (March Quarter 2022 to March Quarter 2023) (ABS)
  • Cash rate: 4.10% – no change from previous month (August 2023) (RBA)
  • Unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted): 3.5% (June 2023) (ABS)
  • Participation rate (seasonally adjusted): 66.8% (June 2023) (ABS)
  • Inflation:
    • CPI: 6.0% (headline), 5.9% (underlying1) (June Quarter 2022 to June Quarter 2023) (ABS)
    • Monthly CPI Indicator2: 5.4% (headline), 6.0% (underlying1) (June 2022 to June 2023) (ABS)
  • Current account balance: $12.2bn surplus (March Quarter 2023) (ABS)
  • Current account balance as a percentage of GDP: 1.4% surplus (March Quarter 2023) (Trading Economics)

HSC Topic One – The Global Economy

Gross World Product

Global trade

  • Global exports as a percentage of gross world product: 30.6% (2022) (World Bank)

Global investment and financial flows

Technology and communication

Transport

  • Air transport, passengers carried: 2.3 billion (2021) vs. 1.8 billion (2020) vs. 4.5 billion (2019) vs. 1.7 billion (2000) (World Bank)
  • Container port traffic in 20-foot equivalent units (TEU): 840 (2021) vs. 225 (2000) (World Bank)

Migration

Distribution of income and wealth

Quality of life

HSC Topic Two – Australia’s Place in the Global Economy

Value of Australia’s trade flows

  • Australia’s exports as a percentage of GDP: 25.8% (2022) vs. 19.4% (2000) vs. 16.4% (1980) (World Bank)
  • Australia’s imports as a percentage of GDP: 19.9% (2022) vs. 21.6% (2000) vs. 15.9% (1980) (World Bank)
  • Australia’s balance on goods and services (seasonally adjusted): Surplus of $11.3 billion (June 2023) (ABS)

Composition of Australia’s trade flows

  • Australia’s composition of exports (August 2023) (RBA):
    • Resources: 67.0%
    • Services: 13.7%
    • Rural 10.7%
    • Manufactured: 6.7%
  • Australia’s top exports (2021-22) (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade):
    • Iron ore and concentrates: 22.3%
    • Coal: 19.1%
    • Natural gas: 11.9%
    • Gold: 3.9%
    • Education-related travel services: 3.5%
  • Australia’s top imports (2021-22) (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade):
    • Refined petroleum: 8.7%
    • Passenger motor vehicles: 5.1%
    • Freight: 5.0%
    • Telecom equipment & parts: 3.4%
    • Goods vehicles: 2.8%

Direction of Australia’s trade flows

Australia’s financial flows

  • Australia’s foreign direct investment inflows as a percentage of GDP: 4% (2022) vs. 1.6% (2021) (World Bank)
  • Australia’s foreign direct investment inflows: $88.8 billion (2022) (ABS)
  • Australia’s foreign portfolio investment inflows: $159.6 billion (2022) (ABS)
  • Total foreign investment in Australia (stock): $4.5 trillion (31 December 2022) (ABS)
  • Australian investment abroad (stock): $3.7 trillion (31 December 2022) (ABS)

Australia’s balance of payments

  • Australia’s current account balance: $12.2 billion surplus (March Quarter 2023) (ABS)
    • Balance on goods and services: $41.1 billion
    • Net primary income: -$28.5 billion
    • Net secondary income: -$0.2 billion
  • Australia’s capital and financial account3: -$5.8 billion (March Quarter 2023) (ABS)
  • Australia’s current account balance as a percentage of GDP: 1.4% surplus (March Quarter 2023) (Trading Economics)
  • Australia’s terms of trade: 114.0 (March Quarter 2023) vs. 71.0 (March Quarter 2016) (ABS)
  • Australia’s household savings ratio: 3.7% (March Quarter 2023) (ABS)

Australia’s free trade agreements

According to DFAT, Australia has signed bilateral trade agreements with:

  • New Zealand (ANZCERTA) (1983)
  • Singapore (SAFTA) (2003)
  • Thailand (TAFTA) (2005)
  • USA (AUSFTA) (2005)
  • Chile (ACI-FTA) (2009)
  • Malaysia (MAFTA) (2013)
  • South Korea (KAFTA) (2014)
  • Japan (JAEPA) (2015)
  • China (ChAFTA) (2015)
  • Hong Kong (A-HKFTA) (2020)
  • Peru (PAFTA) (2020)
  • Indonesia (IA-CEPA) (2020)
  • India (ECTA) (2022)

Australia has signed the following multilateral trade agreements:

  • ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) (2010)
  • Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) (2018) between Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Peru, Malaysia and Chile
  • Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) (2020) with New Zealand, Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Niue, Vanuatu and Cook Islands
  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) (2022) with Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

HSC Topic Three – Economic Issues

Economic growth

  • Australia’s real GDP growth rate: 2.3% (March Quarter 2022 to March Quarter 2023) (ABS)
  • Components of aggregate demand (March Quarter 2023) (ABS)
    • Household final consumption expenditure (C): $288 billion (making up 52% of GDP)
    • Private gross fixed capital formation and change in inventories (I): $100 billion (making up 18% of GDP)
    • Government final consumption expenditure and public gross fixed capital formation (G): $154 billion (making up 28% of GDP)
    • Net exports (X – M): $125 billion – $109 billion = $16 billion (making up 2% of GDP)
  • Australia’s fiscal multiplier: 1.1-1.3 (RBA referencing OECD)

Unemployment

  • Australian labour market statistics (seasonally adjusted) (June 2023) (ABS):
    • Unemployment rate: 3.5%
    • Participation rate: 66.8%
    • Underemployment rate: 6.4%
  • Australian NAIRU estimate: 4.5-5% (Treasury)

Inflation

  • CPI: 6.0% (headline), 5.9% (underlying1) (June Quarter 2022 to June Quarter 2023) (ABS)
  • Monthly CPI Indicator2: 5.4% (headline), 6.0% (underlying1) (June 2022 to June 2023) (ABS)
  • Imported inflation measured by changes in Import Price Index: -0.8% (March Quarter 2023 to June Quarter 2023) (ABS)

Distribution of income and wealth

  • Australia’s Gini coefficient for income (equivalised disposable household income): 0.324 (2019-20) vs. 0.329 (2009-10) (ABS)
  • Australia’s Gini coefficient for wealth (household net worth): 0.611 (2019-20) vs. 0.602 (2009-10) (ABS)

Environmental sustainability

HSC Topic Four – Economic Policies and Management

Fiscal policy

  • Underlying cash balance (Budget, Department of Finance):
    • 2021-22 (actual): -$32.0 billion
    • 2022-23 (forecast): +$4.2 billion
    • 2023-24 (forecast): -$13.9 billion
    • Year-to-date: Surplus of $19 billion (May 2023)
  • Revenue: $680.40 billion (2023-24) (Budget):
    • Individual income tax: $326 billion (48%)
    • Company and resource rent taxes: $134 billion (20%)
    • Sales taxes: $91 billion (13%)
    • Non-tax revenue: $51 billion (7%)
    • Fuels excise: $25 billion (4%)
  • Spending: $684.10 billion (2023-24) (Budget):
    • Social security and welfare: $250 billion (37%)
    • Other purposes4: $134 billion (20%)
    • Health: $107 billion (16%)
    • Education: $48 billion (7%)
    • Defence: $43 billion (6%)

Monetary policy

  • Cash rate: 4.10% (2 August 2023) (RBA)

Microeconomic policy

  • Multi-factor productivity growth: 2.2% (2021-22) (ABS)
  • Labour productivity growth: 1.4% (2021-22) (ABS)

Labour market policy

Environmental management

Footnotes

  1. We take the trimmed mean to represent underlying inflation.
  2. The quarterly CPI is the principal measure of inflation, whilst the monthly CPI indicator updates less than half of the basket every month to provide timelier indication of inflation.
  3. Although we expect that the current account balance and capital and financial account balance to add to zero, in practice there are measurement issues and adjustments made.
  4. This is primarily support to state and territory governments.

Sign up to the Bloom Economics newsletter

Get FREE access to notes, practice questions, news article recommendations and other resources for HSC Economics