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1338.1 - NSW State and Regional Indicators, Dec 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/01/2011  Final
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Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


Paid work is the way most people obtain the economic resources needed for themselves and their dependents, both for day-to-day living and to meet their longer term financial needs. Work allows individuals to build their skills and social networks and enhance their own identity, and contributes to economic growth and development. People without paid work may be at risk of poverty and isolation.


The number of people in paid employment in NSW has grown steadily over the last decade. In 2009–10, the number of employed people in NSW was 3.5 million, up from 3.1 million in 2001–02. Of this growth in employment, one-third (137,00) was among females working part-time while 27% (111,000) was among males working full-time. When looked at from the perspective of age, over one-third (40%) of the increase in employment was among persons aged 55–64 years.

While much of this increase can be attributed to population growth, the participation rate has also increased, from 62.1% in 2001–02 to 63.3% in 2009–10. This means that the number of people in the labour force has increased as a proportion of the total population aged 15 years and over. For males, the participation rate was 70.6% in 2010 compared to 56.4% for females. Between 2001–02 and 2009–10, the proportion of employed persons who worked full-time decreased from 73.5% to 70.5% while the proportion employed part-time increased from 26.5% to 29.5%.


Over the period 2001–02 to 2007–08, the unemployment rate in NSW fell from 6.2% to 4.6% before rising to 5.7% in 2008–09 and 2009–10. Persons aged 15–19 years remain the age group with the highest level of unemployment (18.1%) in 2009–10, nearly double the rate for 20–24 year olds (8.9%). Leaving aside those aged above the retirement age of 65 years, the unemployment rate was lowest amongst 45-54 year olds (3.8%).

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, By age group, NSW - 2010(a)
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, By age group, NSW - 2010(a)

The labour force underutilisation as at August 2009 was 13.3%, up from 10.7% in 2008. The labour force underutilisation rate is the unemployed plus the underemployed, as a percentage of the labour force.

In 2009–10, across NSW, the highest rate of unemployment was recorded in the Canterbury-Bankstown Statistical Region (9.0%) and the lowest was recorded in the Central Northern Sydney Statistical Region (3.9%). Small area labour market statistics from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for June 2010 revealed that the Local Government Area (LGA) with the highest estimated rate of unemployment in NSW was Central Darling (13.4%) followed by Bourke (12.6%), while the lowest estimated unemployment rates were found in Singleton (2.1%) and Woollahra (2.2%) LGAs.


Of the 3.5 million people employed in NSW in 2010, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry continues to employ the most people in NSW with 385,000 (or 11%) of persons employed in 2010. This was followed by the Retail Trade industry (365,000 persons, or 10.5%) and Manufacturing industry (306,000 persons, or 8.8%). Together, these industries employ almost one-third of all employed persons in NSW.

The industries that contributed the most to the increase in employed persons in NSW over the period 2006 to 2010 were Health Care and Social Assistance (29% contribution), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (14%) and Construction (11%). After reaching a peak of 400,000 employed persons in 2008, Retail Trade has suffered a decline of employment, to 385,000 persons in 2009 and 365,00 persons in 2010.

EMPLOYED PERSONS BY INDUSTRY, Change between 20062010(a) - NSW

EMPLOYED PERSONS BY INDUSTRY, Change between 2006-2010(a) - NSW

As at August 2010, 24% of all employed persons in NSW listed their occupation as Professional, followed by Clerical and Administrative Workers, Managers and Technicians and Trades workers (all 14%). Technicians and Trades Workers was the largest occupation for males (22%) whereas for females it was Professional (28%). Community and Personal Service workers made up the lowest proportion of employed males (6.1%) while the Machinery Operators and Drivers employed only 1.2% of females.

EMPLOYED PERSONS, by occupation and sex - NSW 2010 (a)(b)
EMPLOYED PERSONS, by occupation and sex - NSW 2010 (a)(b)


In trend terms, average weekly ordinary time earnings (AWOTE) for adult full-time workers in NSW at May 2010 was $1,275.10 per week, up from $1,072.40 in 2006 (an increase of 18.9%). AWOTE for males was $1,354.70 per week whilst for females it was $1,145.70 per week, a ratio of 1:0.8. These differences partly reflect differences in distribution across industries and occupations.

AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS, By sex, NSW - Adult ordinary time earnings: Trend(a)
AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS, By sex, NSW - Adult ordinary time earnings: Trend(a)


The needs of an ageing population puts pressure on the capacity of government to adequately fund government payments, programs and services. Policies, particularly around taxation and superannuation, have been designed to encourage mature age workers to stay in the workforce for longer. However, many people look forward to retirement and often take the opportunity to reduce their participation in the labour force over a period of time, which is known as transitioning to retirement.

Between 2002 and 2010, the proportion of the population in the near retirement years (aged 55–64 years) participating in the workforce increased; the participation rate for males increased 8.8 percentage points (from 60.0% to 68.8%) while for females it rose 13.4 percentage points (from 37.7% to 51.1%).

However, of those persons aged 55–64 years who were employed, the proportion of males working full-time declined 2.4 percentage points (from 85.3% to 82.9%) while the proportion of males working part-time increased. In contrast, the proportion of females aged 55–64 years working full-time increased 4.6 percentage points (from 48.6% to 53.2%) while the proportion of females working part-time decreased.

Data cubes with detailed statistics are available on the Downloads page.


Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0)

Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0)

Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0)

Forms of Employment, Australia (cat. no. 6359.0)

Industrial Disputes, Australia (6321.0.55.001)

Job Vacancies, Australia (cat. no. 6354.0)

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001)

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003)

Labour Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6345.0)

Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6220.0)

Small Area Labour Markets, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations


Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 1.0), (cat. no. 1292.0)

Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Revision 1, (cat. no. 1220.0)

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