While much has been said by economists and the State Government about the effect of Queensland’s health outcomes in its labour force statistics since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, little has been mentioned about the role its industry composition relative to other states has played in employment outcomes.
Accordingly, it is interesting to compare the changes in employment composition by industry of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria from a period at the outset of the pandemic to one in more recent times.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics publish a quarterly, detailed labour force series that provides a breakdown of employment within each ANZSIC sector by state and territory.
With the most recent being to November 2020 (the February print due shortly on 25th March), the following statistics show that the largest employment sectors for Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in November in 2019.
While Health Care and Social Services is by far the largest employing industry for all states in November 2019, for Queensland, sectors including Accommodation and Food Services, Public Administration and Safety, Other Services, Rental Hiring and Real Estate Services as well as traditional industries including Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and Mining represented a relatively larger proportion of total state employment.
Fast forward to November 2020 and comparing November year on year to avoid seasonal factors - what a difference a year like 2020 has made.
In Queensland, the largest number of job losses were in industries including Accommodation and Food Services, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Construction and Other Services.
However, there were substantial gains in Public Administration and Safety, Financial and Insurance Services and traditional industries including Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and Mining.
Interestingly, in contrast to large falls in New South Wales and Victoria, employment in Manufacturing actually increased in Queensland.
Considering the proportional changes within industry employment composition across the Queensland economy over the year to November 2020, not only has hiring in the public sector in administration and safety been the largest source of employment growth in the state, but Queensland’s traditional primary industries have also been substantial drivers of job creation in addition to Financial and Insurance Services.