31/10/2006 - 21:00

Business services lead growth

31/10/2006 - 21:00

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Property and business services has been the fastest growing industry sector in Western Australia over the past 20 years, Australian Bureau of Statistics data has found.

Business services lead growth

Property and business services has been the fastest growing industry sector in Western Australia over the past 20 years, Australian Bureau of Statistics data has found.

 

It currently employs 132,000 people, or about 12 per cent of the state’s total workforce, up from 7 per cent 20 years ago.

 

The sector encompasses a wide range of services, from property developers and real estate agents through to professional services such as accounting, law, engineering and architecture.

 

It also includes services like staff recruitment, secretarial services and contract cleaning.

 

Hence, the biggest employers in this sector would include engineering firms WorleyParsons and Clough, and cleaning firm Delron Cleaning.

 

Construction and mining have also been fast-growing industries over the past 20 years.

 

Their fortunes are often intertwined, never more than now, when some of the state’s biggest construction projects are on mine sites.

 

For instance, more than 1,400 workers are employed on the construction of BHP Billiton’s Ravensthorpe nickel project, while Woodside is gearing up to have 1,500 contractors working on the North West Shelf venture’s phase five expansion on the Burrup Peninsula.

 

The flipside of the current boom is the sharp downturn suffered by both industries in the early part of this decade.

 

Employment in the construction industry fell to less than 80,000 in 2002 but is consistently above 100,000 people in the past two years.

 

The mining industry has experienced an even bigger turnaround, with direct employment doubling over the past six years to 53,000 people.

 

A major reason for the mining boom is that the buoyant conditions extend across most commodities, from oil and gas to iron ore, nickel, base metals and gold.

 

Accommodation, cafes and restaurants is a fourth industry sector to enjoy substantial growth during the past two decades.

 

Anecdotal evidence suggests the cafe sector has experienced the most rapid expansion, with the emergence of cafe chains such as Dome Coffees and Gloria Jeans, and the opening of many sole-trader cafes.

 

The biggest employer in this sector, which employs about 45,000 people in total, is Burswood.

 

Declining industries are led by the rural sector, which encompasses agriculture, forestry and fishing.

 

Employment in the sector has fallen to less than 43,000 people.

 

Contributors to this decline would include the sale of many smaller farms and the halting of logging in old growth forests.

 

Manufacturing employment has grown substantially in absolute terms to just over 100,000 people but has still declined in proportionate terms.

 

The finance and insurance sector and the transport and storage sector have also made a declining contribution to employment in WA over the past two decades.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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