Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1367.5 - Western Australian Statistical Indicators, Dec 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/01/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

FEATURE ARTICLE - THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Construction industry impacts on the lives of every Western Australian, providing our homes, facilities and infrastructure. Construction is an integral part of the Western Australian economy, particularly the engineering construction for large mining projects, and is closely linked to other industries such as Manufacturing and Finance. This article brings together a range of data on the Western Australian Construction industry over the period from 1998-99 to 2002-03, focusing on trends in construction activity, economic performance and employment.


SOCIAL TRENDS

The following article appears in detail in the printed and electronic versions of the publication:


INCOME AND HOUSING

This article presents information on income and housing for Western Australia, mainly drawn from the Surveys of Income and Housing Costs conducted over the years 1995-96 to 2001-02, including:

  • household income;
  • household income at different life cycle stages;
  • distribution of household income;
  • sources of household income;
  • housing utilisation;
  • dwelling structure;
  • tenure type;
  • housing costs; and
  • housing assistance.


OVERVIEW


STATE FINAL DEMAND

State final demand, in trend chain volume terms, increased 1.8% ($349 million) to $19,589 million in the September quarter 2003 - the twelfth consecutive increase since the December quarter 2000. Since the September quarter 2002, quarterly growth in State final demand has remained steady at around 2.0%. Growth in Western Australia's State final demand of 1.8% in the September quarter 2003 was well above the 1.0% increase recorded nationally.

Chain volume measures of state final demand - change from previous quarter


In seasonally adjusted chain volume terms, State final demand increased 2.1% ($407 million) to $19,701 million in the September quarter 2003. The main drivers of growth in State final demand were:
  • Household final consumption expenditure - up $253 million (2.5%), reflecting growth in retail trade (mainly in recreational goods and electrical equipment) and new motor vehicle sales; and
  • Private expenditure on Machinery and equipment - up $233 million (13.0%), mainly due to high levels of investment activity in the Property and business services industry, and the impact of the strong $A on imports.

Partially offsetting the increase in State final demand were falls in Public gross fixed capital expenditure and Private expenditure on Non-dwelling construction - down $101 million (12.2%) and $66 million (4.7%) respectively.


CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Perth's consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.9% in the September quarter 2003, compared to an increase of 0.6% nationally. Contributing to prices growth during the quarter were increases in the cost of fuel, house purchase and property and rates charges. Partially offsetting these increases were falls in the cost of imports and overseas holidays, due to further strengthening of the $A.

Major contributors to the increase in Perth's CPI in the September quarter 2003 were:
  • House purchase - up 2.9%;
  • Automotive fuel - up 3.0%; and
  • Property and rates charges - up 11.2%.

Offsetting price decreases came mainly from:
  • Overseas holiday travel and accommodation - down 3.2%;
  • Audio, visual and computing equipment - down 6.8%; and
  • Vegetables - down 3.5%.

Consumer price index (all groups) for Perth - change over corresponding quarter of previous year


Over the twelve months to September 2003, Perth's CPI increased 2.1%. Price increases ranged from 1.8% in Darwin to 3.6% in Adelaide. Nationally, the CPI rose 2.6% over the year to September.

WAGE COST INDEX

The quarterly index of total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses for Western Australia increased 1.3% in the September quarter 2003, the largest increase since the September quarter of the previous year (1.6%). Nationally, the wage cost index rose 1.2% over the same period.

In the twelve months to September 2003, wages in Western Australia grew 3.1%, compared to growth of 3.6% nationally. Annual wages growth ranged from 2.8% in the Northern Territory to 4.1% in the Australian Capital Territory.

Wage cost index - change over corresponding quarter of previous year



Accommodation, cafes and restaurants showed the highest quarterly wages growth of the selected industries in Western Australia, rising 2.1% in the September quarter 2003. Manufacturing and Retail trade recorded the lowest quarterly wages growth at 0.6%, and the lowest annual wages growth at 2.1%. Government administration and defence recorded the highest annual wages growth in the September quarter 2003 at 4.7%.

Of the selected occupations, Intermediate production and transport workers had the highest quarterly wages growth at 1.9% in the September quarter 2003. Professionals recorded the highest annual wages growth at 4.1%, while Associate professionals recorded the lowest quarterly and annual wages growth (0.4% and 2.2% respectively) in the September quarter 2003.


CONSUMPTION

New Motor Vehicle Sales

New motor vehicle sales in Western Australia (trend) declined 0.5% to 7,242 vehicles in November 2003. The slight fall followed fifteen consecutive monthly increases from August 2002 (6,078) to October 2003 (7,278). Despite the decrease, sales of new motor vehicles remained at a high level, aided by a strong labour market and low interest rates.

In the three months to November 2003, new motor vehicle sales (trend) totalled 21,793 - an increase of 302 vehicles (1.4%), compared to the three months to August 2003. Contributing to the rise were increases in sales of both passenger vehicles - up 157 (1.2%), and other vehicles - up 145 (1.7%).
New motor vehicle sales


Sales of new motor vehicles (trend) in the three months to November 2003 were 3,061 (16.3%) higher than in the three months to November 2002. The rise was due to increased sales of both passenger vehicles - up 1,696 (14.6%), and other vehicles - up 1,365 (19.1%).

Retail Trade

In the three months to October 2003, retail turnover in Western Australia (trend) rose $101.5 million (2.3%), compared to the three months to July 2003. During this period, monthly growth in retail turnover in Western Australia averaged 0.6%, compared to 0.9% nationally.

Monthly retail turnover



The main industry groups contributing to retail growth in the three months to October 2003, compared to the three months to July 2003, were:
  • Household goods retailing - up $62 million (9.6%), a flow-on from continued strong housing market activity;
  • Hospitality and services retailing - up $16.4 million (2.9%), coinciding with the recent resurgence in overseas visitors to Western Australia; and
  • Recreational goods retailing - up $10.9 million (5.2%).

Other goods retailing was the only industry group to record a decrease - down $17 million (4.4%).

In trend chain volume terms, Western Australia's retail turnover for the September quarter 2003 rose 1.8% to $4,325.8 million - an increase of 5.0% over the September quarter 2002.


PRIVATE NEW CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

Growth in business investment in Western Australia (trend chain volume terms) continued in the September quarter 2003, rising 5.4% ($112 million) to $2,171 million - the seventh consecutive quarterly increase since the December quarter 2001. In the September quarter 2003, private new capital expenditure increased on both Equipment, plant and machinery - up 5.6% ($68 million); and Buildings and structures - up 3.7% ($32 million).

The larger increase in expenditure on Equipment, plant and machinery relative to expenditure on Buildings and structures reflects the progression of the state's major resource projects beyond the initial construction stage.

Chain volume measures of private new capital expenditure



In original current price terms, business investment in Western Australia in the September quarter 2003 totalled $2,205 million - 47.0% ($705 million) higher than in the September quarter 2002. Growth in business investment during this period was largely attributable to activity in the state's Mining industry - up 70.6% ($551 million). Also contributing to the rise were Other selected industries (including Retail trade, Property and business services and Construction), up 22.1% ($107 million); and the Manufacturing industry, up 20.1% ($47 million).

According to the Western Australian Department of Treasury and Finance, the outlook for business investment in Western Australia in 2003-04 remains positive, supported by a number of large resource projects currently underway. Improving world economic conditions, particularly in Japan and China, are expected to be an important driving force for growth in investment in the state, with local businesses bringing forward capital investment plans and expanding capacity.


CONSTRUCTION

Building Approvals

A total of 5,236 new houses were approved in Western Australia in the three months to October 2003. Despite some recent volatility in monthly approvals - partly due to the introduction of new energy efficient building codes in July 2003 - the number of new house approvals in the three months to October 2003 was only slightly down on the high level recorded in the preceding three month period (down 2.1% from 5,351 approvals).

Number of dwellings approved - new houses



The total value of new houses approved in Western Australia in the three months to October 2003 was $771.0 million - $22.7 million (2.9%) less than in the three months to July 2003. In October 2003, however, the value of new house approvals increased $59.9 million (25.3%) to $297.1 million, the highest monthly value for new house approvals in the last ten years.

In original chain volume terms, the value of both new house approvals ($665.6 million) and new other residential building approvals ($86.3 million) fell in the September quarter 2003 (down from the June quarter 2003 by $21.2 million and $7.2 million respectively). Over the same period, the value of total non-residential building approvals fell $16.3 million to $327.3 million.


FINANCE

The number of housing finance commitments (trend) in Western Australia rose for the eleventh consecutive month in October 2003, increasing by 95 to a total of 7,615 commitments. During this period, the number of housing finance commitments grew by an average of 134 (2.0%) per month. However, the rate of growth slowed in recent months from 3.0% in May 2003 to 1.3% in October 2003. The total value of housing finance commitments has increased for the seventeenth consecutive month in October 2003, up $20.3 million (1.8%) to $1,160.2 million.

Housing finance commitments - number of dwellings financed



In original terms, there were 3,939 (21.5%) more housing finance commitments made in the three months to October 2003 than in the three months to October 2002. Dwellings financed by non-first home buyers contributed most to the rise, increasing by 3,819 dwellings (25.4%), while dwellings financed by first home buyers increased by 120 dwellings (3.7%).

The gap between the average borrowing sizes of first home buyers and non-first home buyers narrowed considerably from $10,700 in the three months to October 2002 to $4,400 in the three months to October 2003. Over this period, the average borrowing size for first home buyers increased 15.2% to $145,300, while the average borrowing size for non-first home buyers rose 9.4% to $149,700.


TRADE

The value of Western Australia's merchandise exports totalled $7,834 million in the September quarter 2003, down $88 million (1.1%) from the June quarter 2003. Exports during the period were adversely affected by the continued appreciation of the $A, although this effect was partly offset by strong commodity prices for many of the state's major exports. The value of Western Australia's merchandise imports also fell in the September quarter 2003 - down $22 million (0.8%) to $2,800 million. The state's trade surplus dropped $66 million (1.3%) during this period.

The value of Western Australia's merchandise exports in the September quarter 2003 was $202 million (2.5%) less than in the September quarter 2002, while the value of merchandise imports was $228 million (8.9%) higher.

Value of Western Australia's merchandise trade



Exports

The major commodities contributing to the decrease in value of Western Australia's exports in the September quarter 2003, compared to the September quarter 2002, were:
  • Non-ferrous metals - down $236 million (65.6%);
  • Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials - down $178 million (12.8%);
  • Metalliferous ores and metal scrap - down $162 million (10.2%); and
  • Cereals and cereal preparations - down $123 million (27.0%).

Partially offsetting the decline in exports were increases in the value of exports of:
  • Non-monetary gold - up $427 million (45.0%); and
  • Combined confidential items (including alumina, metal sands and some agricultural products) - up $220 million (16.9%).

Exports from Western Australia to Japan were valued at $1,817 million in the September quarter 2003, down $526 million (22.4%) from the September quarter 2002. Exports were also lower to the United States of America (down $178 million or 24.8%) and Singapore (down $143 million or 32.3%). In contrast, the value of exports increased to the United Kingdom (up $447 million or 117.5%) and to India (up $280 million or 414.8%).

Imports

The major commodities contributing to the increase in the value of imports to Western Australia in the September quarter 2003, compared to the September quarter 2002, were:
  • Non-monetary gold - up $131 million (34.3%); and
  • Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials - up $80 million (26.5%).

Decreased imports into Western Australia were recorded for:
  • General industrial machinery and equipment (including machine parts) - down $120 million (47.6%); and
  • Power generating machinery and equipment - down $55 million (55.4%).

Compared with the September quarter 2002, imports into Western Australia in the September quarter 2003 increased from Indonesia (up $157 million or 68.1%), Singapore (up $78 million or 65.6%) and Thailand (up $44 million or 78.4%). The major decreases in imports over the period were recorded from the Republic of Korea (down $70 million or 46.9%) and Italy (down $56 million or 30.7%).


MINERAL AND PETROLEUM EXPLORATION

Mineral exploration expenditure (trend) in Western Australia rose $400,000 to $106.7 million in the September quarter 2003 - the sixth successive quarterly increase since the June quarter 2002. During this period, mineral exploration expenditure grew by an average of $2.2 million (2.2%) per quarter. However, in the past four quarters the rate of growth slowed from 5.3% in the December quarter 2002 to 0.4% in the September quarter 2003.

Mineral exploration expenditure - total minerals



In original terms, Western Australia's mineral exploration expenditure for the September quarter 2003 totalled $108.5 million - $1.6 million (1.5%) lower than in the September quarter 2002. Minerals contributing most to the decrease were:
  • Diamonds - down $2.4 million (32.9%) to $4.9 million; and
  • Gold - down $2.1 million (3.0%) to $68.0 million.

Nickel and cobalt exploration expenditure rose $400,000 (3.2%) to $12.9 million over the period, reflecting the buoyant demand for nickel from China and a surge in $US nickel prices (up 37.2%).

In the September quarter 2003, petroleum exploration expenditure (original) totalled $177.9 million - $92.6 million (108.6%) higher than in the September quarter 2002. The rise in expenditure on petroleum exploration over the period coincided with strong $US oil prices (up 8.3%) and growth in demand from China and Japan.


MINERAL PRODUCTION

Minerals showing increases in production in the September quarter 2003, compared to the September quarter 2002, were:
  • Nickel - up 9.6% (5,000 tonnes) to 57,000 tonnes;
  • Bauxite - up 9.3% (819,000 tonnes) to 9,579,000 tonnes;
  • Diamonds - up 7.7% (693,000 carats) to 9,706,000 carats; and
  • Iron ore - up 6.1% (2,954,000 tonnes) to 51,538,000 tonnes.

Decreases were recorded in the production of:
  • Zinc - down 20.6% (13,000 tonnes) to 50,000 tonnes;
  • Tin - down 18.8% (34 tonnes) to 147 tonnes; and
  • Ilmenite - down 7.1% (34,000 tonnes) to 442,000 tonnes.


TOURISM

Short Term Arrivals on Holiday

There were 53,558 overseas visitors arriving by air on holiday to Western Australia in the three months to September 2003 - 13,000 (32.1%) more than in the three months to June 2003. The resurgence in international visitors to Western Australia was largely due to the Rugby World Cup, and reflected a general increase in confidence in overseas travel following the easing of international travel warnings surrounding the SARS outbreak and other global uncertainties.

Short term overseas visitor arrivals - by air on holiday


There were 7,812 (17.1%) more overseas visitors to Western Australia arriving by air on holiday in the three months to September 2003 than in the corresponding period of 2002. Major contributors to the increase in visitors were arrivals from:
  • Malaysia - up 2,902 (50.7%);
  • United Kingdom and Ireland - up 2,358 (34.0%); and
  • Rest of Europe (excluding the United Kingdom and Ireland) - up 1,293 (21.3%).

Partially offsetting the increase was a fall in the number of visitors from Japan, down 1,310 (14.8%).

Short Term Departures on Holiday

A total of 54,893 Western Australian residents departed overseas by air on holiday in the three months to September 2003 - 19,575 (55.4%) more than in the three months to June 2003. This growth was aided by the appreciation of the $A, and also reflected growing confidence in overseas travel.

Short term resident departures overseas - by air on holiday



Despite the recent rise in overseas travel by Western Australian residents, the number of resident departures in the three months to September 2003 was still well below the level recorded in 2002. In the three months to September 2003, 12,906 (19.0%) fewer Western Australian residents departed overseas by air on holiday than in the three months to September 2002. Major falls in resident departures from Western Australia over this period were recorded for the following destinations:
  • Indonesia - down 6,124 (27.8%);
  • Thailand - down 4,486 (48.3%); and
  • Malaysia - down 3,320 (62.8%).

In contrast, the number of Western Australian residents departing for the Rest of Europe (excluding the United Kingdom and Ireland) increased 1,838 or 39.5%.


THE LABOUR MARKET

Employment

The number of employed persons in Western Australia (trend) rose for the third consecutive month to 977,700 in November 2003. Over the three months to November 2003, the number of employed persons grew by 3,700, driven by increases in full-time employment for both males and females (up 7,700 and 2,600 respectively). The rise in full-time employment was, however, partially offset by a fall in the number of persons employed part-time - down 6,500 persons over the period.

Over the three months to November 2003, the number of employed persons in Western Australia increased at an average monthly rate of 0.1% (1,233 persons), compared to 0.3% nationally.
Employed persons - total


Industry Employment

Industries showing increases in the number of employed persons (original) in the three months to November 2003, compared to the three months to November 2002, were:
  • Construction - up 16,900 (23.8%) to 87,900, supported by continued high levels of activity in new dwelling construction and strong growth in construction associated with the state's major mining and energy projects;
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing - up 14,800 (43.0%) to 49,200, coinciding with the forecasted recovery in farm (wheat) produce from the 2002-03 drought; and
  • Property and business services - up 14,200 (12.9%) to 124,200, reflecting strong growth in property related employment, consistent with continued strong activity in the property market.

Decreases were recorded in the number of persons employed in the industries of:
  • Personal and other services - down 25,500 (41.9%) to 35,400; and
  • Manufacturing - down 12,000 (11.8%) to 89,900.
Unemployment

The number of unemployed persons in Western Australia (trend) rose for the seventh consecutive month to 63,800 in November 2003 - up 4,700 persons from April 2003. Over the three months to November 2003, the number of persons unemployed increased by 1,400, mainly due to a rise in unemployed females (up 1,000). During this period, the number of unemployed Western Australians increased at an average monthly rate of 0.7% (466 persons), in direct contrast to an average monthly decrease of 1.0% nationally.

Despite the increase in unemployed persons, the unemployment rate (trend) in Western Australia remained constant at 6.1% in the three months to November 2003, due to the offsetting increase in the number of persons employed. At the national level, the unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive month to 5.6% in November 2003.

Unemployment rate



In November 2003, there were 10,200 long-term unemployed persons in Western Australia (those who had been unemployed for 52 weeks or more since their last employment). This level decreased by 2,300 persons compared to November 2002.


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.