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6105.0 - Australian Labour Market Statistics, Oct 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/10/2008   
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This article was published in the October 2008 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).

INTERSTATE COMMUTERS


AN ANALYSIS OF 2006 CENSUS DATA


INTRODUCTION

This article aims to provide a brief analysis of those employed people who live in one state but work in another, and who are referred to in this article as interstate commuters. The movement of these workers across state and territory borders may have implications for how Federal, State and Local Governments plan and distribute funding, infrastructure and other amenities relating to both their resident and working populations. The article uses data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing and relates to the main job of the individual in the week prior to the Census.


BACKGROUND

The five yearly Census collects a large amount of information about Australia's population, including information on people's age, sex and place of usual residence, as well as information about their employment, such as industry and occupation, and their place of work. The Census attempts to measure some of the same concepts that are measured in the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The latter provides Australia's official estimates of employment and unemployment. However, there are methodological and statistical differences between the two sources, and as such the data presented in this article differ from LFS estimates for the same period. For more information regarding the differences between Census and Labour Force Survey data, please refer to the technical report 'Census and the Labour Force Survey' in the October 2007 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).

According to the 2006 Census, 101,300 people commuted interstate for work in the week prior to the Census, accounting for 1% of all employed persons. Of those, 62% were men and 38% were women. The age distribution of people who commuted interstate for work was similar to that of all employed people.


COMMUTING FROM

People who lived in the Australian Capital Territory were more likely to commute interstate for work, partly reflecting its small size and the fact that it is surrounded by New South Wales. In 2006, 4% of all employed people living in the Australian Capital Territory commuted interstate for work in the week prior to the Census followed by those living in New South Wales (2%) and the Northern Territory (2%).

In terms of numbers, however, New South Wales had the largest number of people who commuted outside of the state to work (48,300) followed by Victoria (20,200) and Queensland (15,500).


COMMUTING TO

The Australian Capital Territory received proportionally more interstate commuters than any other state or territory. In 2006, 12% of people working in the Australian Capital Territory were usual residents of another state or territory. These people commuted into Canberra from nearby Queanbeyan, Yass and adjacent semi rural areas of New South Wales.

New South Wales received the largest number of interstate commuters (30,000), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (22,500), Victoria (17,900) and Queensland (16,900).

1. Employed persons(a), Place of usual residence and place of work(b)

Place of work(b)
NSW
Vic
Qld
SA
WA
Tas
NT
ACT
Total employed exited
Total employed
Place of Usual Residence(b)
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.
No.

NSW
2 718 323
12 352
11 816
739
1 373
229
734
21 016
48 259
2 766 582
Vic
13 297
2 141 997
2 617
1 352
1 344
416
586
625
20 237
2 162 234
Qld
9 081
2 267
1 720 747
742
1 388
203
1 330
490
15 501
1 736 248
SA
921
1 341
834
655 089
686
72
483
153
4 490
659 579
WA
865
945
748
432
884 869
74
544
126
3 734
888 603
Tas
365
585
366
109
249
194 508
86
74
1 834
196 342
NT
191
197
298
149
389
14
80 942
44
1 282
82 224
ACT
5 328
230
188
47
79
10
52
163 524
5 934
169 458
Total employed entered
30 048
17 917
16 867
3 570
5 508
1 018
3 815
22 528
101 271
. .
Total employed
2 748 371
2 159 914
1 737 614
658 659
890 377
195 526
84 757
186 052
. .
8 661 270

. . not applicable
(a) Excludes those employed people who did not say where they were working (not stated).
(b) 'Other Territories' excluded from analysis due to very small numbers.

2. Interstate commuters, Proportion of all employed persons(a)

Proportion employed who commuted from
Proportion employed who commuted to
States and territories(b)
%
%

NSW
1.7
1.1
Vic
0.9
0.8
Qld
0.9
1.0
SA
0.7
0.5
WA
0.4
0.6
Tas
0.9
0.5
NT
1.6
4.5
ACT
3.5
12.1
Australia
1.2
1.2

(a) Excludes those employed persons who did not say where they were working (not stated).
(b) 'Other Territories' excluded from analysis due to very small numbers.



COMMUTING FLOWS

Table 3 shows that of those who lived in New South Wales but worked interstate, 44% worked in the Australian Capital Territory, 26% in Victoria and 25% in Queensland. The combination of these three bordering states accounted for 94% of employed people who lived in and commuted from New South Wales.

For employed people who lived in and commuted from Victoria, 66% worked in New South Wales and 7% worked in South Australia, both of which share a border with Victoria. This pattern was similar for most other states and territories, where a minimum of 65% of employed people who commuted into a state for work came from one of its bordering state or territories.

However, this was not the case with Western Australia. About 68% of employed people who commuted from Western Australia went to non-bordering states - Victoria (25%), New South Wales (23%) and Queensland (20%).

3. Interstate commuters, Proportion from each state(a)

Place of work(b)
NSW
Vic
Qld
SA
WA
Tas
NT
ACT
Total
Place of Usual Residence(b)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

NSW
. .
25.6
24.5
1.5
2.8
0.5
1.5
43.5
100.0
Vic
65.7
. .
12.9
6.7
6.6
2.1
2.9
3.1
100.0
Qld
58.6
14.6
. .
4.8
9.0
1.3
8.6
3.2
100.0
SA
20.5
29.9
18.6
. .
15.3
1.6
10.8
3.4
100.0
WA
23.2
25.3
20.0
11.6
. .
2.0
14.6
3.4
100.0
Tas
19.9
31.9
20.0
5.9
13.6
. .
4.7
4.0
100.0
NT
14.9
15.4
23.2
11.6
30.3
1.1
. .
3.4
100.0
ACT
89.8
3.9
3.2
0.8
1.3
0.2
0.9
. .
100.0

. . not applicable
(a) Excludes those employed persons who did not say where they were working (not stated).
(b) 'Other Territories' excluded from analysis due to very small numbers.



NET FLOWS

The net flow, or the difference between the number of people leaving and entering the state or territory for work, shows that there was an uneven exchange of employed people across state borders. The greatest net loss was for New South Wales where 18,200 more employed people left the state than entered for work in the week prior to the Census, followed by Victoria (a net loss of 2,300). The greatest net gains occurred in the Australian Capital Territory where 16,600 more employed people commuted to the territory than out of it, the Northern Territory (a net gain of 2,500), and Western Australia (a net gain of 1,800) (see Table 4).

4. Net flow of employed persons who commuted to work, by state and territory

Total commuted
Difference
Place of Usual Residence(a)
entered
exited
(entered - exited)

NSW
30 048
48 259
-18 211
Vic
17 917
20 237
-2 320
Qld
16 867
15 501
1 366
SA
3 570
4 490
-920
WA
5 508
3 734
1 774
Tas
1 018
1 834
-816
NT
3 815
1 282
2 533
ACT
22 528
5 934
16 594
Australia
101 271
101 271
. .

. . not applicable
(a) 'Other Territories' excluded from analysis due to very small numbers.



IN WHICH INDUSTRIES DO COMMUTERS WORK?

Interstate commuting is more closely associated with some industries than others. For example, the Public administration and safety industry accounted for just 7% of all employed people in 2006 but represented 14% of all interstate commuters in 2006.

Similarly, the Mining industry accounted for 1% of all employment in 2006, but 3% of all interstate commuters and people working in Construction accounted for 8% of total employment, but represented 9% of all interstate commuters. While workers in both of these industries are predominantly male (85% of people working in the Mining industry in 2006 were male, while for Construction it was 86%), among commuters in these two industries there were even higher proportions of males (95% and 92%, respectively).

People working in the Retail trade industry were less likely to commute interstate for work. Retail trade represented 12% of all employment in 2006, but just 9% of all interstate commuters worked in this industry. Similarly, the Manufacturing industry accounted for 11% of all employed people in 2006 but just 10% of employed interstate commuters.

The industries accounting for the highest proportion of interstate commuters varied by state and territory. Manufacturing was the most common industry in which people who commuted to New South Wales and Victoria worked. In 2006, 11% of those who commuted to New South Wales and 16% of those who commuted to Victoria worked in the manufacturing industry. In contrast, Mining was the most common industry in which people who commuted to South Australia (13%) and Western Australia (19%) worked. This is associated with the large amount of mining activity in these states. For more information see the article entitled "Towns of the mineral boom" Australian Social Trends, 2008 issue (cat. no. 4102.0).

People working in the Construction industry accounted for 20% of those who commuted to work in the Northern Territory and 15% of those who commuted to Queensland, reflecting the high levels of construction activity occurring within these two economies with some of this construction associated with developments in mining. In contrast, in Tasmania the largest group of workers commuting to that state (17%) worked in the Transport, postal and warehousing industry.

In the Australian Capital Territory, more than one third of commuters (34%) came to work in the Public administration and safety industry, reflecting the fact that this is the single largest industry in the Australian Capital Territory, accounting for 32% of total employment in the ACT in 2006.

5. Proportion of employed persons who commuted to each state/territory, by Industry

Place of Work(a)
NSW
Vic
Qld
SA
WA
Tas
NT
ACT
Total
Male commuters
Industry(b)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Agriculture, forestry and fishing
4.5
3.3
4.4
7.5
4.0
7.2
5.4
0.3
3.5
73.3
Mining
1.0
1.4
3.9
13.3
18.5
2.8
12.0
-
3.1
94.8
Manufacturing
11.1
15.9
9.3
12.6
7.0
7.5
7.2
4.1
9.8
78.6
Electricity, gas, water and waste services
1.3
0.9
0.8
1.3
1.2
2.7
0.3
0.8
1.0
80.5
Construction
8.2
6.4
14.7
9.6
17.3
7.0
19.9
5.6
9.4
92.3
Wholesale trade
5.4
6.4
4.0
3.6
2.8
2.9
1.2
2.6
4.3
68.0
Retail trade
10.1
11.0
8.0
5.4
5.5
7.7
4.0
7.1
8.6
46.0
Accommodation and food services
8.3
5.3
9.1
4.3
5.8
5.4
6.8
3.8
6.5
42.8
Transport, postal and warehousing
7.9
7.1
6.1
9.3
8.3
17.3
5.4
3.1
6.5
81.5
Information media and telecommunications
1.7
2.3
1.9
2.3
1.2
1.8
1.1
2.4
2.0
61.9
Financial and insurance services
2.8
3.0
2.2
2.0
1.1
2.8
0.5
1.9
2.3
52.1
Rental, hiring and real estate services
1.4
1.1
2.1
0.7
0.9
1.9
0.7
1.2
1.3
52.3
Professional, scientific and technical services
5.3
6.8
6.3
5.4
6.4
4.7
3.7
10.3
6.8
62.4
Administrative and support services
2.5
3.3
3.4
3.5
2.7
2.5
3.9
2.5
2.9
51.2
Public administration and safety
9.4
7.6
5.4
7.1
8.3
5.5
13.3
34.3
13.9
59.8
Education and training
5.3
5.4
4.5
3.0
2.1
4.9
4.0
6.8
5.2
36.4
Health care and social assistance
8.9
8.5
9.0
5.0
4.2
10.8
6.4
8.2
8.2
23.8
Arts and recreation services
2.2
1.6
2.2
2.5
1.0
3.0
2.3
1.4
1.9
59.9
Other services
2.7
2.7
2.7
1.9
1.7
2.0
1.9
3.6
2.8
58.8
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
61.4

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) 'Other Territories' excluded from analysis due to very small numbers.
(b) Industry is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).



IN WHICH OCCUPATIONS DO COMMUTERS WORK?

In 2006, the occupational distribution of interstate commuters broadly reflected the occupational distribution of all employed people, although people in the higher skilled occupations were slightly more likely to commute than others. Those working in the Professional occupation group accounted for 22% of all interstate commuters, while they represented 21% of all employed. Similarly, Technicians and trades workers accounted for 16% of all interstate commuters and 14% of all employed people, and Managers accounted for 15% of commuters and 14% of all employed. While Machinery operators and drivers are the smallest occupation group among commuters (7%), their representation is a little larger than might be expected given that this occupation group represents slightly less than 7% of all employed. Conversely, Sales workers account for 10% of the total employed, but they only represent 8% of commuters.

Among the states and territories there was an interesting pattern in relation to the top occupations in which interstate commuters worked. For almost all states and territories (except Western Australia and the Northern Territory) people working as Professionals formed the largest single group of interstate commuters, reflecting the fact that this is the single largest occupation group among employed people. In particular, for the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, Professionals were a particularly important group of commuters, accounting for 29% of people commuting to Tasmania, and 27% of people commuting to the ACT.

However, for those resource rich states experiencing high levels of mining and construction activity the importance of Technicians and trade workers was apparent. While people in this occupation group accounted for 14% of all employed people in 2006, they represented 29% of workers commuting to the Northern Territory, 25% of those commuting to work in Western Australia, 19% going to Queensland and 18% of those going to South Australia.

6. Proportion of employed persons who commuted to each state/territory, by Occupation

Place of work(a)
NSW
Vic
Qld
SA
WA
Tas
NT
ACT
Total
Male commuters
Occupation(b)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Managers
15.7
15.3
13.0
14.9
11.3
16.6
9.7
17.7
15.2
69.9
Professionals
21.1
21.2
19.3
20.3
21.9
28.5
19.7
26.7
22.1
55.3
Technicians and trades workers
14.8
13.8
18.7
17.7
25.2
14.3
28.9
11.7
15.8
88.0
Community and personal service workers
9.9
8.4
9.1
8.4
6.1
10.4
8.6
8.5
8.9
43.4
Clerical and administrative workers
11.5
10.3
10.3
6.1
6.0
7.0
5.9
21.4
12.5
28.1
Sales workers
9.3
11.2
8.4
5.9
3.7
6.4
3.1
5.3
7.9
42.7
Machinery operators and drivers
7.5
7.8
7.7
12.9
11.4
3.3
9.7
3.6
7.1
93.0
Labourers
10.2
11.9
13.5
13.8
14.4
13.5
14.4
5.1
10.5
70.0
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
61.4

(a) 'Other Territories' excluded from analysis due to very small numbers.
(b) Occupation is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0).


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