Employment by industry (Total)
In Cairns, Health Care and Social Assistance is the largest employer, generating 12,546 local jobs in 2017/18.
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.
NOTE: Detailed notes about how the figures are derived can be found in the specific topic notes section.
National Economics (NIEIR) - Modelled series
|Employment (total) by industry|
|Industry (Click rows to view sub-categories)||Number||%||Queensland%||Number||%||Queensland%||2015/16 to 2017/18|
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing||1,393||1.7||2.9||1,292||1.7||2.8||+101||23000||P|
|Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services||745||0.9||1.1||934||1.2||1.3||-190||23300||P|
|Accommodation and Food Services||8,641||10.4||7.6||7,725||10.1||7.4||+915||23700||P|
|Transport, Postal and Warehousing||4,888||5.9||5.1||4,882||6.4||5.3||+6||23800||P|
|Information Media and Telecommunications||750||0.9||1.2||901||1.2||1.4||-151||23900||P|
|Financial and Insurance Services||1,310||1.6||2.5||1,370||1.8||2.6||-59||24000||P|
|Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services||1,517||1.8||1.9||1,582||2.1||2.0||-65||24100||P|
|Professional, Scientific and Technical Services||3,880||4.6||6.3||3,934||5.2||6.8||-54||24200||P|
|Administrative and Support Services||3,767||4.5||3.6||3,219||4.2||3.5||+548||24300||P|
|Public Administration and Safety||6,425||7.7||6.6||5,892||7.7||6.5||+533||24400||P|
|Education and Training||8,146||9.8||9.9||7,490||9.8||9.5||+656||24500||P|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||12,546||15.0||13.9||11,608||15.2||13.2||+937||24600||P|
|Arts and Recreation Services||1,731||2.1||1.7||1,579||2.1||1.7||+151||24700||P|
Source: National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) (opens a new window) ©2018. Compiled and presented in economy.id by .id (opens a new window), the population experts.
NIEIR-ID data are adjusted each year, using updated employment estimates. Each release may change previous years’ figures.Learn more
An analysis of the jobs held by the local workers in Cairns in 2017/18 shows the three largest industries were:
- Health Care and Social Assistance (12,546 people or 15.0%)
- Retail Trade (9,529 people or 11.4%)
- Accommodation and Food Services (8,641 people or 10.4%)
In combination these three industries accounted for 30,715 people in total or 36.8% of the local workers.
In comparison, Queensland employed 13.9% in Health Care and Social Assistance; 10.2% in Retail Trade; and 7.6% in Accommodation and Food Services.
The major differences between the jobs held by local workers of Cairns and Queensland were:
- A larger percentage of local workers employed in Accommodation and Food Services (10.4% compared to 7.6%)
- A smaller percentage of local workers employed in Mining (0.3% compared to 2.6%)
- A smaller percentage of local workers employed in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (4.6% compared to 6.3%)
- A smaller percentage of local workers employed in Manufacturing (5.0% compared to 6.5%)
The number of local workers in Cairns increased by 7,173 between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
The largest changes in the jobs held by local workers between 2015/16 and 2017/18 in Cairns were for those employed in:
- Construction (+1,771 local workers)
- Retail Trade (+1,017 local workers)
- Health Care and Social Assistance (+937 local workers)
- Accommodation and Food Services (+915 local workers)