FACTBase Bulletin 59 - Greater Perth's Economic Base: A Comparative Assessment

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This FACTBase Bulletin analyses the economic base of Greater Perth by Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) and compares it to other major cities around Australia. It updates and expands on the analysis presented in FACTBase Bulletin 9 (Tonts, 2010) and draws on Australian Bureau of Statistics data for the Working Population.

Key Findings
  • The results of a location quotient analysis for Greater Perth show a similar pattern observed in FACTBase Bulletin 9, in that the mining industry is still a key contributor to the economic base.
  • There is evidence that the economic base of Greater Perth is changing and that there is growing potential for other industries to diversify the city’s economy.
  • This analysis supports the findings in FACTBase Special Report: Perth as a resilient economy, that there are three clear groupings of industry in Greater Perth – the Bright Lights Industries, the Primary Industries and the Industries in Transition (Tonts et al., 2017).
  • Whilst the arts and recreation services industry only employs 1.81% of the total working population in Greater Perth, its employment grew by more than 26% since 2011. In 2016, this Bright Lights Industry recorded a location quotient of 1.09, demonstrating that the concentration of this activity is important to Greater Perth relative to the national economy.
  • Retail trade industry has been identified in Perth as a resilient economy as an Industry in Transition. Whilst facing many new technological, customer and competitor challenges, this industry still remains a key employer in Greater Perth and recorded a quotient of 1.06 over the two Census periods.
  • The top five employing industries include health care and social assistance, 12.96%; retail trade, 10.41%; education and training, 9.40%; construction, 8.30%; and professional, scientific and technical services, 7.55%. In total, these industries make up approximately 48% of the total working population in Greater Perth.
  • The biggest employing SA2s in Greater Perth are Perth City, with 137,455 workers, Subiaco-Shenton Park with 22,926 workers and Osborne Park Industrial with 22,029 workers. This highlights the centralised nature of Greater Perth’s labour force as evidenced in Get a Move On! (Committee for Perth, 2016).
  • The stand out difference between the Greater Perth economic base and other major cities in Australia is the intense presence of the mining industry and the less prevalent service or knowledge focused industries that are present in Greater Melbourne and Greater Sydney.
  • Greater Perth recorded a location quotient higher than Greater Melbourne for education and training, 1.09 versus 1.06. This is important as Melbourne is often viewed as a ‘stand out performer’ in terms of its education and training economy.
Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.