Over the past couple of years I’ve seen multiple presentations about mining employment and its impact on employment. As per a recent article ‘The Myth of Mining Employment’ I actually detailed just what a low employer the mining industry is.
Queensland is currently one of the worst performing economies in terms of state based unemployment so I thought it would be interesting to look at the most recent Census 2011 data and detail where the current mining employment is, the actual real numbers and at what concentrations they are in terms of overall employment and population.
Figure 1: Queensland Mining Employment by Regions as a total. Data sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Queensland Office of Economic and Statistical Research.
Numbers don’t tell the whole story so I’ve also cut the graph to show the percentile employed in mining to the total employed population. As the graphic shows the mining hubs of Mackay, the Queensland Outback, Fitzroy and the Darling Downs all have higher than average mining employment numbers. While the large numbers from Brisbane reflect the concentration of corporate headquarters plus the natural centre for state Fly-In Fly-Out operations.
Figure 2: Queensland Mining Employment by Regions as a percentile of total employed population. Data sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Queensland Office of Economic and Statistical Research.
As I’ve talked about previously, mining is not a big overall employer. When the Census occurred in August 2011 there were 226,900 Australians employed in mining, of which 44,000 resided in Queensland (or 19.4%). As at August of 2012 that number had increased by almost 50,000 to 275,200 so you could extrapolate that on state averages Queensland may have increased its mining employment by 10,000 or so over the past year.
The big employment opportunities for mining are in the infrastructure phases which are now coming off once in generational highs but still have forward momentum at least over the short term. Unfortunately, most of the discussion around mining employment looks to the large infrastructure based numbers currently in play and forgets the evidence that is freely available.