Cairns

Employment by industry (FTE)

In Cairns, Health Care and Social Assistance is the largest employer, generating 10,881 FTE jobs in 2020/21.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) employment is modelled by NIEIR and takes into account differences in hours worked between industry sectors. It is a measure that allows direct comparison of employment between industries in Cairns.

Typically, industries such as Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food Services, which employ many part-time workers, have lower FTE employment than total employment.

FTE employment is calculated directly by dividing the total hours worked in each industry by 38. By comparing the number of full-time equivalent 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.

FTE employment should be viewed in conjunction with Employment by industry (Total) and Employment by industry (Census), for a full understanding of the industry breakdown in the area. Worker productivity data shows the value of a worker in each industry to the local economy. Employment locations shows where employment is taking place in each industry sector.

Data source

National Economics (NIEIR) - Modelled series

Please note: FTE employment is derived from Census data but has been corrected for the known undercount of employment in the Census. Detailed notes about how the figures are derived can be found in thespecific topic notes section.
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Full-time equivalent employment by industry sector
Cairns2020/212015/16Change
IndustryNumber%. QueenslandNumber%. Queensland2015/16 - 2020/21
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing1,2811.84.11,2692.03.2+12
Mining1,1021.64.04610.73.4+641
Manufacturing3,1344.57.63,1394.98.0-6
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services7001.01.38441.31.4-144
Construction8,32312.010.76,1169.510.5+2,207
Wholesale Trade1,8782.73.21,7332.73.2+145
Retail Trade5,8378.48.06,55110.29.0-714
Accommodation and Food Services6,7709.85.25,6308.85.6+1,141
Transport, Postal and Warehousing4,0165.85.54,5097.06.0-492
Information Media and Telecommunications6390.91.37831.21.5-144
Financial and Insurance Services1,6902.43.01,1161.72.8+574
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services1,4162.02.01,4352.22.2-19
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services3,8545.67.63,7315.87.7+122
Administrative and Support Services2,1703.12.72,5894.03.1-419
Public Administration and Safety5,3837.86.85,2778.26.8+105
Education and Training6,1158.88.65,7859.08.1+330
Health Care and Social Assistance10,88115.713.38,88213.811.7+1,999
Arts and Recreation Services1,2591.81.31,2892.01.6-30
Other Services2,8244.13.83,0994.84.3-274
Total industries69,273100.0100.064,238100.0100.0+5,035

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 more

Please refer to specific data notes for more information
Did you know? By clicking/tapping on a category in the chart below you will be able to drilldown to the sub categories.
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Dominant groups

An analysis of the jobs held by the full-time equivalent local workers in Cairns in 2020/21 shows the three largest industries were:

  • Health Care and Social Assistance (10,881 people or 15.7%)
  • Construction (8,323 people or 12.0%)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (6,770 people or 9.8%)

In combination these three fields accounted for 25,975 people in total or 37.5% of the local workers.

In comparison, Queensland employed 13.3% in Health Care and Social Assistance; 10.7% in Construction and 5.2% in Accommodation and Food Services.

The major differences between the jobs held by the full-time equivalent local workers of Cairns and Queensland were:

  • A larger percentage of full-time equivalent local workers employed in Accommodation and Food Services (9.8% compared to 5.2%)
  • A smaller percentage of full-time equivalent local workers employed in Manufacturing (4.5% compared to 7.6%)
  • A larger percentage of full-time equivalent local workers employed in Health Care and Social Assistance (15.7% compared to 13.3%)
  • A smaller percentage of full-time equivalent local workers employed in Mining (1.6% compared to 4.0%)

Emerging groups

The number of full-time equivalent local workers in Cairns increased by increased by 5,035 between 2015/16 and 2020/21.

The largest changes in the jobs held by the full-time equivalent local workers between 2015/16 and 2020/21 in Cairns were for those employed in:

  • Construction (+2,207 full-time equivalent local workers)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance (+1,999 full-time equivalent local workers)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (+1,141 full-time equivalent local workers)
  • Mining (+641 full-time equivalent local workers)

Cairns Regional Council

economic profile