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Friday, 21 September 2018

Where is the Aussie population growing?

Population growth

We've already looked in a bit of detail at the latest Aussie demographic statistics, which showed a bit of a slowdown in net overseas migration, and a meaningful ongoing swing in internal migration away from New South Wales and towards south-east Queensland.

Where, then, is the Aussie population growing and set to grow most?

Let's take a look back at the 2016-17 figures, and try to project forward from there by dusting off the crystal ball and looking at the latest jobs growth figures. 

Greater Melbourne increased its population hugely by +129,400 or +2.7 per cent in 2016-17.

This is supremely strong headcount growth, both cause and effect of an expanding construction boom on an unprecedented scale for Victoria.

The monthly unemployment rate for Greater Melbourne dropped to just 4.9 per cent in August, down from well above 6 per cent back in 2014 as the economy floundered.

This recent marked improvement hasn't yet flowed through to Melbourne's annual average unemployment rate, but make no mistake full employment is edging closer in Victoria.

Greater Sydney wasn't too far behind in increasing its population by +107,400 or +2.1 per cent in 2016-17, taking the harbour city's total population to around 5¼ million at the time of writing.

The jobs bonanza for Greater Sydney continued in August 2018, with year-on-year growth in total employment of +89,100, and this week's skilled vacancies figures from the Department of Employment pointing to further hiring and brighter things ahead. 

The Greater Sydney unemployment rate was considerably lower than that of Melbourne at just 4¼ per cent in August, and it continues to trend lower. 

When will wages start to rise? Will wages start to rise? Key questions!

Despite strong population growth the Aussie economy is steadily making inroads into the total number of unemployed persons - mainly thanks to the two big capital cities - which puts the unemployment rate at the lowest level since 2012.

Brisbane/SEQ the 3rd growth hub

Greater Brisbane is looking to rediscover the resources boom vibe and its population increased by +2.2 per cent or +50,800 persons to 2.41 million in 2016-17.

Thereafter followed a huge drop, with Adelaide and Perth reporting population growth rates of under 1 per cent, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures.

You can pick out your own favourites in the ABS table below. 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

In percentage terms there was considerably quicker population growth in other parts of south-east Queensland, at both Gold Coast (+2.6 per cent) and the Sunshine Coast (+2.6 per cent).

And, finally, Geelong in Victoria (+2.7 per cent) has been riding on Melbourne's coattails with abandon.

These remain three of the regional cities that have thrived lately.

Looking forward...

With Sydney and now Melbourne recording respective unemployment rates of under 5 per cent, it seems likely that these two capital cities will continue to attract the great bulk of net overseas migration, at least for the foreseeable future.

The figures released this week suggested that Sydney will, however, lose many incumbent residents to Greater Brisbane and south-east Queensland.

In terms of absolute population growth nowhere else really features materially at all outside the three main hubs.

But in percentage terms I'd hang my hat on Queensland's coastal cities, Geelong, Canberra, and possibly Hobart.