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Queensland’s population to hit five million thanks to jobs growth

Yesterday (Thursday 22 March 2018) we had an occurrence of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ labour market data being released at the same time as latest estimates of population. This was a great opportunity to see the interconnection of how demography is influenced by economics.

Firstly in respect to the labour market, latest data for February 2018 reveals a steady and prevailing trend of improvement for Queensland. In the month of February 2018 there were:

  • 4,200 new jobs created (2nd highest behind NSW); and
  • 110,000 jobs created over the past 12 months (again the 2nd highest result behind only NSW) with employment growth of 4.6% over the past 12 months (the highest of all States). 

You would have to go back to prior to the GFC to see growth of that high achieved across a consecutive period of time.  However the data also revealed Queensland is a victim of its own success.

People previously on home duties or further educating themselves because they didn’t think they could get a job are now returning to the labour market to get the jobs that are now being widely offered. In addition persons interstate are now relocating here to take up some of those jobs. As a result, Queensland’s number of unemployed persons has risen and our unemployment rate remains stuck at 6.1 per cent, 0.6 per cent above the national unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent. Queensland continues to have the second highest unemployment rate of all States.

If you judge the labour market on how many jobs are being created or how many employment hours are being worked, Queensland is doing very well. If you judge the State on the unemployment rate then obviously we are not doing that well. 

So how does population enter the equation.  Well population flows towards employment opportunity or where the jobs are being created. The data also reveals Queensland has now replaced Victoria as the destination of choice of where people are moving to in Australia.

Queensland’s population grew by 1.7 per cent over the past 12 months (second highest of all States) and compares to national growth of 1.6 per cent. The Sunshine State now has a resident population of 4,948,700 persons tantalisingly close to 5 million. Indeed our population is projected to hit 5 million in May 2018.

Queensland’s Population growth comes from three areas:

  • Natural increase (births – deaths) up 31,000 in past 12 months;
  • Net overseas migration up 31,000 in past 12 months; and
  • Net interstate migration up 19,000 in past twelve months (12,000 from NSW).

One of the most interesting points about Queensland’s population is this:

  • In 1901, Queensland’s population was half a million persons, a tenth of what it is today;
  • It then took 37 years to hit one million in 1938;
  • another 36 years to hit two million in 1974;
  • only another 18 years to hit three million in 1992;
  • just 14 years to hit four million in 2006; and
  • now just 12 years to hit five million.

Queensland has had the highest population growth of any State over the past 25 years (growing by 63%) and things are not expected to change with the State forecasted to grow by another 63% in the next 25 years only behind WA.

This all sounds great right? Well careful what you wish for as population growth places enormous demand on our infrastructure.

If traffic congestion, waiting times at hospitals, overcrowded classrooms, packed trains and buses, crowded living spaces annoy you then get ready for more of the same. Our State’s swelling population will require serious thought and careful planning to stay ahead of the curve and not behind it where we unquestionably find ourselves at present.

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