Western Australia

This image shows that there were 1,351,900 people employed in Western Australia as at November 2018, up 3.4% since November 2013. Employment is projected to grow by 5.0% over the five years to May 2023.
22% of jobs are regional. 14% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 15% of workers are self-employed. 31% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 32% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 5% of workers hold an other qualification. 32% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

Western Australia is the fourth largest employing state, with employment highly concentrated in Perth. Over the past five years, Western Australia has had the second weakest employment growth of any state or territory. This subdued growth was influenced by falls in Construction (down by 16,300 or 11.6%) and Financial and Insurance Services (down by 11,100 or 31.0%). Offsetting these falls was significant growth in

  • Health Care and Social Assistance (up by 36,400)
  • Public Administration and Safety (17,700)
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (17,200).

Western Australia accounts for 43% of Australia’s Mining jobs. Mining employment in Western Australia fell over much of the past five years but has recovered strongly in the past year. Mining continues to be one of the largest employing industries in Western Australia, accounting for 8% of state jobs.

Current conditions (to January 2019)

Labour market conditions in Western Australia have been mixed over the year. Employment increased by just 900 (or 0.1%) in the year to January 2019, with full-time employment rising strongly (up by 28,600, or 3.2%), while part-time employment decreased (down by 27,800, or 6.3%).

The state’s unemployment rate has risen by 1.2 percentage points over the year to 6.8% in January 2019, well above the national rate of 5.0%. The state’s participation rate has also increased over the year, up by 0.3 percentage points to 68.4% in January 2019, well above the national rate of 65.7%.

Conditions for youth in Western Australia have been relatively weak over the year, with youth employment increasing by 500 (or 0.3%), while the state’s youth unemployment rate has also increased, up by 1.4 percentage points to 14.8% in January 2019, well above the national rate of 11.5%.

Outlook 

The short-term outlook for the Western Australian economy is reasonably positive. The Western Australian Treasury has forecast employment growth of 2.0% in 2019-20, while the unemployment rate is expected to average 5.75% over the period. Over the five years to May 2023, employment in Western Australia is projected to increase by 5.0% (below 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 172.6 13 36.4 26.7
Construction 123.5 9 -16.3 -11.6
Retail Trade 122.9 9 -6.9 -5.3
Mining 110.6 8 7.1 6.9
Education and Training 105.2 8 10.0 10.4
Public Administration and Safety 95.4 7 17.7 22.7
Accommodation and Food Services 95.0 7 16.6 21.2
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 92.6 7 -6.2 -6.2
Manufacturing 89.7 7 0.0 0.0
Transport, Postal and Warehousing 65.2 5 -5.4 -7.6
Other Services 54.8 4 -0.1 -0.1
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 44.2 3 17.2 63.4
Administrative and Support Services 41.2 3 -0.6 -1.3
Wholesale Trade 40.0 3 1.8 4.8
Arts and Recreation Services 27.3 2 9.1 49.7
Financial and Insurance Services 24.7 2 -11.1 -31.0
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 23.0 2 -4.8 -17.3
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services 20.8 2 -1.7 -7.4
Information Media and Telecommunications 13.3 1 0.3 2.4

Employment by region, Western Australia

Employment by region, Western Australia
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 Perth 1,055.6 22.6 2.2 32 46 15 18 35 31 30 5.3
Bunbury 99.2 14.5 17.1 37 47 13 27 21 34 39 4.6
Western Australia - Outback 118.0 -8.5 -6.7 25 43 14 14 15 39 43 3.1
Western Australia - Wheat Belt 68.0 4.5 7.1 33 43 9 35 12 40 39 5.8
Western Australia1 1,351.9 45.1 3.4 32 46 14 19 31 32 32 5.0
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; Department of Treasury, Western Australia

For more information see lmip.gov.au