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
- Excel full
- Word full
|Employment (total) by industry|
|Industry||Number||%||Queensland||Number||%||Queensland||2014/15 - 2019/20|
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing||1,286||1.5||3.1||1,276||1.7||2.8||+10|
|Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services||885||1.0||1.2||776||1.0||1.3||+109|
|Accommodation and Food Services||7,450||8.8||7.2||7,695||10.2||7.3||-245|
|Transport, Postal and Warehousing||5,035||6.0||5.1||4,792||6.4||5.2||+243|
|Information Media and Telecommunications||1,000||1.2||1.4||715||1.0||1.4||+285|
|Financial and Insurance Services||2,420||2.9||2.6||1,266||1.7||2.7||+1,155|
|Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services||1,530||1.8||1.9||1,549||2.1||2.0||-19|
|Professional, Scientific and Technical Services||4,703||5.6||7.1||3,806||5.1||6.8||+896|
|Administrative and Support Services||2,828||3.3||3.3||3,134||4.2||3.5||-307|
|Public Administration and Safety||6,056||7.2||6.8||5,895||7.8||6.6||+161|
|Education and Training||7,577||9.0||9.0||7,105||9.5||9.1||+472|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||13,424||15.9||13.8||11,384||15.1||12.9||+2,041|
|Arts and Recreation Services||1,689||2.0||1.7||1,584||2.1||1.7||+106|
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 2019/20 shows the three largest industries were:
- Health Care and Social Assistance (13,424 people or 15.9%)
- Construction (9,120 people or 10.8%)
- Retail Trade (8,695 people or 10.3%)
In combination these three fields accounted for 31,240 people in total or 37.0% of the local workers.
In comparison, Queensland employed 13.8% in Health Care and Social Assistance; 9.7% in Construction and 9.5% in Retail Trade.
The major differences between the jobs held by local workers of Cairns and Queensland were:
- A smaller percentage of local workers employed in the field of Manufacturing (4.7% compared to 6.9%)
- A larger percentage of local workers employed in the field of Health Care and Social Assistance (15.9% compared to 13.8%)
- A smaller percentage of local workers employed in the field of Mining (0.6% compared to 2.6%)
- A larger percentage of local workers employed in the field of Accommodation and Food Services (8.8% compared to 7.2%)
The number of local workers in Cairns increased by increased by 9,291 between 2014/15 and 2019/20.
- Construction (+2,597 local workers)
- Health Care and Social Assistance (+2,041 local workers)
- Financial and Insurance Services (+1,155 local workers)
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (+896 local workers)