New South Wales

This image shows that there were 4,054,600 people employed in New South Wales as at November 2018, up 13.3% since November 2013. Employment is projected to grow by 7.7% over the five years to May 2023.
33% of jobs are regional. 15% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 16% of workers are self-employed. 36% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 29% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 4% of workers hold an other qualification. 31% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

New South Wales is the largest employing state (with Sydney accounting for two thirds of state employment). Employment growth over the past five years was above the national average, with the largest rises in 

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical  Services (up by 116,800) 
  • Construction (99,000). 

Around 69% of this workforce have post-school qualifications and they are more likely to hold a bachelor degree or higher than workers nationally. Sydney has the most highly educated workforce in the state, with 71% holding post-school qualifications including 43% with a bachelor degree or higher. 

The age profile of this state is in line with the national average, although some regions have relatively large shares of workers aged 15 to 24 years (see table below).

Current conditions (to January 2019) 

Labour market conditions have strengthened in New South Wales over the year, with employment increasing by 161,600 (or 4.1%). Full-time employment has risen by 79,500 (or 2.9%) over the year, while part-time employment has increased by 82,100 (or 6.9%). The state’s unemployment rate has declined by 1.2 percentage points over the year to 3.9% in January 2019, the lowest rate on record. 

The state’s participation rate has risen by 0.7 percentage points over the year to 65.2% in January 2019 (the equal highest rate on record), but it remains below the national rate of 65.7%.

Conditions for youth in New South Wales have also improved over the year, with youth employment rising by 32,100 (or 5.4%). The state’s youth unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage points over the year to 10.2% in January 2019, the equal lowest rate recorded since December 2008 and below the national rate of 11.5%. 

Outlook 

The short-term outlook for the New South Wales economy is reasonably positive. The New South Wales Treasury has forecast employment growth of 1½% in 2019-20, while the unemployment rate is expected to average 4½% over the period. Over the five years to May 2023, New South Wales employment is projected to increase by 7.7% (above the projected national growth of 7.1%).

Top employing industries

Top employing industries
  Employ’t Nov 2018  Share of total 5 year change to Nov 2018
Industries  '000 %  '000 %
Health Care and Social Assistance 518.0 13 80.2 18.3
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 422.3 10 116.8 38.2
Retail Trade 411.4 10 37.5 10.0
Construction 388.4 10 99.0 34.2
Education and Training 320.2 8 39.7 14.2
Accommodation and Food Services 281.7 7 13.3 5.0
Manufacturing 280.3 7 2.2 0.8
Public Administration and Safety 215.9 5 -0.8 -0.4
Transport, Postal and Warehousing 206.7 5 23.5 12.8
Financial and Insurance Services 202.4 5 23.5 13.1
Other Services 150.9 4 -2.2 -1.4
Wholesale Trade 130.6 3 -5.1 -3.8
Administrative and Support Services 120.7 3 2.1 1.7
Information Media and Telecommunications 90.0 2 16.1 21.8
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 83.5 2 18.3 28.0
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 78.3 2 -10.6 -12.0
Arts and Recreation Services 73.0 2 4.1 6.0
Mining 39.6 1 -6.0 -13.1
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services 37.9 1 -6.6 -14.9

Employment by region, New South Wales

Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
Employ’t Nov 2018  5 year change
to Nov 2018
Part-time Female Aged 15 to 24 years Aged 55 years or older Bachelor degree or higher Cert III or higher VET qual No post-school qual 5 year change to May 2023
Region ‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
Greater Sydney 2,728.6 324.0 13.5 29 46 15 17 43 25 29 8.6
Capital Region 108.2 3.4 3.3 37 48 19 25 16 42 31 8.0
Central West 102.0 3.5 3.6 29 46 19 20 16 47 36 6.6
Coffs Harbour - Grafton 60.6 1.1 1.8 34 47 12 23 20 33 42 6.7
Far West and Orana 57.9 7.7 15.4 21 48 16 27 18 37 43 3.7
Hunter Valley (exc Newcastle) 135.3 7.3 5.7 32 47 19 19 15 41 40 5.9
Illawarra 145.8 17.7 13.8 36 48 19 17 24 41 31 5.5
Mid North Coast 91.1 13.2 16.9 39 48 17 24 18 37 34 7.4
Murray 52.4 0.6 1.2 38 51 15 28 13 39 33 5.3
New England and North West 82.1 0.4 0.5 31 47 16 28 17 41 37 1.7
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie 183.7 16.9 10.2 34 49 16 17 30 31 36 7.5
Richmond - Tweed 115.9 13.4 13.0 47 50 14 31 27 37 32 7.2
Riverina 80.4 0.9 1.2 31 47 10 28 25 31 41 5.3
Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven 57.2 -3.7 -6.1 37 50 15 27 25 37 23 5.8
New South Wales1 4,054.6 475.9 13.3 31 47 15 19 36 29 31 7.7
Australia 12,694.8 1,242.5 10.8 32 47 15 19 32 31 32 7.1

1. Some data are trend and, for these, totals do not add

Sources: ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); ABS, Education and Work; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Employment Projections; New South Wales Treasury

For more information see lmip.gov.au