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REMPLAN Blog

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Next Round of 2016 Census Data Released!


The next round of 2016 Census data has been released. This is an important release for us at REMPLAN as it contains a key input into your respective regional economic profiles; that is, data on where people work and which industries they are employed in.

Data at a 2-digit level is now available in ABS QuickStats and Community Profiles. However, the detailed 4-digit data that will be used as inputs into all REMPLAN economic profiles will not be available until 10 November 2017. We will be working hard to update all profiles once this data becomes available.

Until then, the latest release provides some insights on the changing nature of our nation’s economy.

Where are we working?

When it comes to work, Health Care & Social Assistance and Retail Trade are still our major industries, employing around 22% of all working Australians.

These have been the top two employing sectors since 2006, however the relative importance of each has changed over the past 10 years. Health Care has grown from employing 10.5% of people in 2006 to 12.6% in 2016. In turn, Retail has seen a decrease over that time. Taking the top spot in 2006, and employing 11.3% of working Australians, to 2016 when only 9.9% of people were employed in the retail sector.


Industries across the board have seen some degree of change since the 2011 Census. However, the most notable movement has occurred in Manufacturing. In 2006, this was the third largest employing sector, almost equal to Health Care, employing 10.5% of working people. In 2011 manufacturing still employed 9.0% of people. But in 2016 manufacturing saw a significant drop, down to the eighth highest employing sector, employing 6.4% of working Australians.


Table - Sectors seeing the largest increase and decrease in proportional share of employment in Australia 2011-2016.
Industry Sector20112016Change
Health Care and Social Assistance11.6%12.6%+1.0%
Education and Training8.0%8.7%+0.7%
Manufacturing9.0%6.4%-2.6%
Wholesale Trade4.0%2.9%-1.1%

The State of employment…

Growth in industry employment can be observed at an absolute level (i.e. the increase in the actual number of people employed in that industry compared to 2011 census) or as a proportional share (i.e. the proportional share of people working in an industry compared to overall employment in 2016). The figure below illustrates the growth sectors for each state in these two measures.



Are we getting smarter or are our HECS debts just increasing?

The 2016 census indicates that we as a nation are increasingly favouring university level education, with 36.5% of people with a non-school qualification now having a bachelor degree or higher (up from 33.7% in 2011).

In contrast, the proportion of people with certificate level qualifications has decreased over the 5 years to 2016, down from 32.3% to 31.3%. This trend for degree level qualifications is also evidenced in the type of educational institutions that students are currently attending. In 2016 16.1% of all full time or part time students were attending a university or other tertiary institution (up 1.8%), while the proportion of students attending technical or further education institutions decreased to 5.9% (down -1.4%). This proportional decrease was also accompanied by an absolute decrease, with the total number of students attending technical or further education institutions dropping from 473,608 in 2011 to 424,869 in 2016.

More to come…

These changes in where we work and how we are educated reflect the changing nature of our national economy. However, they don’t tell the complete story. This next release will include other information on employment, place of work, modes of travel to work and migration. 

To help you tell the story of your region’s economy, REMPLAN will be updating all software following the November release of detailed data.



Let's Talk:  1300 737 443.

Kind Regards,
The REMPLAN team

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At REMPLAN we are a team of economists, demographers and software developers. We develop online analytical tools and information resources for economic development and planning practitioners in local, state and federal government agencies, consulting firms, university researchers and students.

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