Employment (total) is the most accurate and up to date measure of the total number of people employed in Cairns. The statistics are modelled by NIEIR to correct for the known undercount of jobs recorded in the Census. They estimate the total number of persons employed in an industry sector (full-time and part-time) in Cairns regardless of where they live. They are updated annually.
By comparing the number of jobs in each industry sector to a regional benchmark, you can clearly see the structure of Cairns's economy. This can be done by directly comparing the area to its benchmark, or by using a location quotient to look at the relative size of industries.
Estimated total employment by industry should not be considered as a "Full-Time Equivalent" measure as different industries will have different ratios of part-time and full time employees. Full-time employment by industry statistics are also available.
To see how employment is distributed across the area, see the Employment locations section and to see where people come from to work in these industries, these data should be viewed in conjunction with Workers place of residence by industry data.
More granular sub-categories for each industry sector are available in the Employment by industry (Census) counts. While Census figures undercount employment they do provide a more detailed picture of the specific industries operating in the area.
National Economics (NIEIR) - Modelled series
|Employment (total) by industry|
|Industry||Number||%||Queensland||Number||%||Queensland||2015/16 - 2020/21|
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing||1,360||1.6||3.2||1,409||1.8||2.8||-49|
|Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services||755||0.9||1.2||916||1.2||1.3||-161|
|Accommodation and Food Services||9,346||11.2||6.9||7,817||10.2||7.4||+1,529|
|Transport, Postal and Warehousing||4,828||5.8||5.1||4,903||6.4||5.2||-74|
|Information Media and Telecommunications||972||1.2||1.4||840||1.1||1.4||+132|
|Financial and Insurance Services||2,075||2.5||2.9||1,322||1.7||2.6||+753|
|Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services||1,648||2.0||1.9||1,598||2.1||2.0||+50|
|Professional, Scientific and Technical Services||4,428||5.3||7.1||3,914||5.1||6.7||+514|
|Administrative and Support Services||2,734||3.3||3.2||3,261||4.3||3.5||-528|
|Public Administration and Safety||6,221||7.4||6.7||5,890||7.7||6.5||+331|
|Education and Training||7,127||8.5||9.1||7,695||10.0||9.5||-568|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||13,770||16.4||14.4||11,522||15.0||13.2||+2,248|
|Arts and Recreation Services||1,719||2.1||1.7||1,644||2.1||1.7||+75|
Source: National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) ©2021. Compiled and presented in economy.id by .id (informed decisions). NIEIR-ID data are adjusted each year, using updated employment estimates. Each release may change previous years’ figures. Learn morePlease refer to specific data notes for more information
An analysis of the jobs held by the local workers in Cairns in 2020/21 shows the three largest industries were:
- Health Care and Social Assistance (13,770 people or 16.4%)
- Accommodation and Food Services (9,346 people or 11.2%)
- Construction (8,605 people or 10.3%)
In combination these three fields accounted for 31,721 people in total or 37.9% of the local workers.
In comparison, Queensland employed 14.4% in Health Care and Social Assistance; 6.9% in Accommodation and Food Services and 9.3% in Construction.
The major differences between the jobs held by local workers of Cairns and Queensland were:
- A larger percentage of local workers employed in the field of Accommodation and Food Services (11.2% compared to 6.9%)
- A smaller percentage of local workers employed in the field of Manufacturing (4.2% compared to 6.9%)
- A larger percentage of local workers employed in the field of Health Care and Social Assistance (16.4% compared to 14.4%)
- A smaller percentage of local workers employed in the field of Mining (0.9% compared to 3.0%)
The number of local workers in Cairns increased by increased by 7,073 between 2015/16 and 2020/21.
- Health Care and Social Assistance (+2,248 local workers)
- Construction (+2,203 local workers)
- Accommodation and Food Services (+1,529 local workers)
- Financial and Insurance Services (+753 local workers)