State statistical bulletin, 2008 09

Research Paper no. 15 2009–10

Alan Payne
Stastistics and Mapping Section
8 April 2010


Executive summary
Historical data
1.1 Employment
1.2 Unemployment
1.3 Labour force
1.4 Long-term unemployed
1.5 Youth unemployment
1.6 Industrial disputes
2.1 Average weekly ordinary time earnings
2.2 Real average weekly ordinary time earnings
2.3 Male total average weekly earnings
2.4 Real male total average weekly earnings
2.5 Wage price index
2.6 Consumer price index
3.1 Gross state product
3.2 Gross state product per capita
3.3 Labour productivity
4.1 Turnover of retail establishments
4.2 Motor vehicle sales
4.3 Dwelling approvals
4.4 Business investment
4.5 Bankruptcies
5.1 Lending for owner occupied housing
5.2 Home loan size
5.3 Home loan repayments
5.4 House sales prices
5.5 House rents
6.1 General government sector net debt
6.2 General government sector fiscal balance
6.3 General government sector taxation revenue
7.1 Merchandise exports
8.1 Population
8.2 Dependency ratio
8.3 Births
8.4 Apparent school retention rates
8.5 General practice bulk billing
8.6 Private health insurance

Executive Summary

  • Tables and charts are presented for a broad range of social and economic indicators across all Australian states and territories, and where appropriate, compared directly to either Australian or state totals.
  • Each table contains data for the last five years, while each chart plots data for the financial year 2008–09.


The year ending the 30th of June 2009 saw a highly synchronised decline in global economic activity, precipitated by a financial crisis which began in the United States and spread to most other parts of the world. This came to be known as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and has since morphed into a global recession.

With these external pressures, the Australian economy has appeared to be fairly robust and has performed relatively well in 2008–09 compared to other economies. Quarterly real gross domestic product (GDP) in Australia grew in all quarters during 2008–09 except the December quarter of 2008 which showed a decline of 0.9 per cent. Despite this seemingly good performance overall there still remains considerable divergence between the states and territories.

The disparity in performance across Australia has focused attention on the economic and social conditions in the individual states and territories. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to present a range of indicators for the states and territories in such a way that comparisons can be made. This has meant that some indicators that reflect the size of an economy (e.g. retail turnover) have been presented so that emphasis is on the annual growth rate of the indicator. Other indicators have been presented as a ratio—e.g. long-term unemployed to total unemployed or general government debt to gross state product—so that comparisons can be made.

This publication is the second in a series which hopefully will be updated and published annually. It is a companion publication to Monthly statistical bulletin that contains only Australia-wide data.

As there are social and economic terms that may be unfamiliar to the reader, a glossary has been provided at the end of this publication.

Brief analysis

The standout jurisdictions of 2008–09 were Western Australia (WA), Northern Territory (NT) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

WA, NT and the ACT had the lowest unemployment rates of, 3.8, 3.7 and 2.9 per cent respectively, well below the national value of 5.0 per cent. However, the rates were up on the previous year’s rates with the exception of the NT where the rate decreased by 0.7 percentage points.

Economic growth in the NT and the ACT were 2.6 and 1.4 per cent respectively which were above the national value of 1.1 per cent, while WA had a growth rate of 0.7 per cent. Also, the gross state products (GSP) per capita in all three jurisdictions were well above the national value.

In real terms, average weekly earnings in WA and the ACT were $1255 and $1340 respectively, which were above the national level of $1167 while the NT was just below the national level with $1138. Business investment and retail turnover in the NT has increased by 27.5 and 13.0 per cent respectively, which is significantly higher than the national increase of 7.1 and 4.6 per cent respectively.

The weakest performing jurisdiction in 2008–09 was New South Wales (NSW) with an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, stationary employment growth and economic growth rate of 0.2 per cent. When general government net debt is expressed as a percentage of GSP, NSW increased since 2007–08 and it has the second highest general government net debt compared to all other jurisdictions.

Labour productivity rates have increased in all jurisdictions since 2007–08 except Queensland (Qld) and WA. Victoria (Vic) had the highest productivity rate of 2.7 per cent.

As previously mentioned, the general government net debt level in NSW has increased. However, this is not the only jurisdiction where general government net debt has deteriorated. It also has deteriorated in Vic, South Australia (SA), Qld and WA (although Qld and WA are still in surplus), while the NT and the ACT have remained constant. Tasmania (Tas) is the only jurisdiction that has improved its general government net debt position.   

Note: Due to the suspension of the job vacancy survey, job vacancy statistics have been omitted from this publication.

Historical data

Long-term data series for every table that appears in this paper are available electronically and can be found at http://libiis1/Library_Services/Quicklinks/state_mesi/index.htm.

Note: The above links can only be accessed by members, senators and parliamentary staff.

The long-term series for the companion publication Monthly statistical bulletin can be found at

1.1 Employment

1.2 Unemployment


Adult Employees. Adult employees are those employees 21 years of age or over and those employees who, although under 21 years of age, are paid at the full adult rate for their occupation.

Apparent school retention rate. The number of full-time school students in a designated level/year of education expressed as a percentage of their respective cohort group (which is either at the commencement of their secondary schooling or Year 10).

Average weekly earnings. Average gross (before tax) earnings of employees. Care should be taken when comparing Average weekly earnings between states over time. This is due to compositional effects introduced by variations over time in the proportions of full-time, part-time, casual and junior employees; variations in the occupational distribution within and across industries; variations in the distribution of employment between industries; and variations in the proportion of male and female employees.

Average weekly ordinary time earnings. Weekly earnings attributed to award, standard or agreed hours of work.

Bankruptcies. Bankruptcies and Administration Orders under Parts IV and XI of the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

Business investment. Private gross fixed capital formation for machinery and equipment; non-dwelling construction; livestock; and intangible fixed assets.

Consumer price index. A measure of change in the price of a basket of goods and services from a base period. Changes in the consumer price index are the most commonly used measures of inflation.

Dependency ratio.  Ratio of the economically inactive to economically active population. Shows the number of children aged 0–14 years and persons aged 65 years and over, per 100 persons aged 15–64 years.

Employees. Employees refer to all wage and salary earners who received pay for any part of the reference period.

Employed persons. Persons aged 15 and over who, during a period of one week, worked for one hour or more for pay or worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a family farm.

Full-time employees. Full-time employees are permanent, temporary and casual employees who normally work the agreed or award hours for a full-time employee in their occupation and received pay for any part of the reference period. If agreed or award hours do not apply, employees are regarded as full-time if they ordinarily work 35 hours or more per week.

General government sector. Government departments and other entities that provide largely non-market public services and are funded mainly through taxes and other compulsory levies.

General government sector net debt. Selected liabilities (deposits held plus proceeds from advances plus borrowing) minus selected assets (cash and deposits plus investments plus advances outstanding) of the general government sector.

General government sector fiscal balance. The financing requirement of the general government sector. A positive sign, or fiscal surplus, indicates a net lending position; a negative sign, or fiscal deficit, indicates a net borrowing position.

General practice bulk billing rate. The percentage of general practitioner attendances (excluding practice nurse) that are bulk billed.

Gross domestic product. The total market value of goods and services produced within Australia, after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production but before deducting for depreciation.

Gross state product. Equivalent to gross domestic product except that it refers to production within a state or territory rather than to the nation as a whole.

Gross state product—chain volume measures. Also known as real gross state product, this is a measure used to indicate change in the actual quantity of goods and services produced within a state or territory.

Gross state product per capita. The ratio of the chain volume measure of gross state product to an estimate of the resident Australian population.

Labour force. The employed plus the unemployed.

Labour force participation rate. The number of persons in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over.

Labour productivity. Gross state product (chain volume measures) per hour worked in all sectors (i.e. market and non-market sectors).

Long-term unemployed. Persons unemployed for a period of 52 weeks or more.

Male total average weekly earnings. Weekly ordinary time earnings plus weekly overtime earnings of all male employees. This measure of earnings is used in the process of benchmarking pensions.

Private health insurance hospital coverage rate. The percentage of the total population that has private health insurance hospital coverage.

Real average weekly earnings. Average weekly earnings adjusted for inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Total fertility rate. The average number of children that females will bear during their lifetime.

Turnover. Includes retail sales; wholesale sales; takings from repairs, meals and hiring of goods; commissions from agency activity; and net takings from gaming machines. Turnover includes the Goods and Services Tax.

Unemployed persons. Persons aged 15 and over who, during a period of one week, were not employed but had actively looked for work in the previous four weeks and were available to start work.

Unemployment rate. The number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

Wage price index. A measure of change in the price of labour (i.e. wages, salaries and overtime) unaffected by changes in the quality or quantity of work performed.

Youth unemployment. Number of 15–19 year olds looking for full-time work.

Youth unemployment rate. Number of 15–19 year olds looking for full-time work expressed as a percentage of the full-time labour force in the same age group.

For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to members of Parliament.

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