About the Queensland Economy

Queensland’s modern, vibrant economy worth more than $360 billion is supported by a range of industries, including a diverse services sector. Over the past two decades, Queensland’s economic growth has generally exceeded the national average thanks to trends such as stronger population growth, a resources investment boom and associated upturn in LNG exports.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the global, national and Queensland economies. Queensland’s strong pre-crisis position allowed the government to respond quickly to the crisis, and to maintain the support necessary to ensure Queensland’s economic recovery.

A diversified economy

The 2020-21 State Budget forecast Queensland’s economy to return to marginal growth (up ¼%) in 2020-21, before strengthening substantially to 3½% growth in 2021-22. Following the significant impact of COVID-19 on the state’s labour market, Queensland’s employment and hours worked have rebounded strongly since May 2020. Queensland’s year average employment growth is forecast to rise 1% in 2020-21 – a much improved outlook than the 3% fall forecast in the COVID-19 Fiscal and Economic Review (C19-FER) in early September.

The state’s improved employment conditions and outlook have also flowed through to unemployment. The unemployment rate is now forecast to average 7½% in 2020-21 (down from 8½% at C19-FER) and improve steadily over coming years, falling to 6½% by 2022-23.

Queensland is the home to 5.2 million people and our population is increasing at one of the fastest rates in the country. At the same time, the state is experiencing rapid change with the Queensland Government investing in manufacturing, skills training and infrastructure, while safeguarding the health of Queenslanders, growing our regions and protecting the environment.

Queensland’s overseas exports of goods and services are forecast to fall by 11% in 2020-21 before rebounding by 9¾% in 2021-22. The global recession caused by COVID-19 has lowered demand for Queensland’s key exports, particularly coal and LNG, while travel restrictions have severely impacted Queensland’s international tourism exports and are expected to limit international student arrivals in 2021.

Mining activity made up 11.7% ($39.6 billion) of our economy in 2019-20. Queensland’s coal and bauxite reserves are among the largest in the world and are of high grade making them a sought-after product overseas. Overseas exports of coal, LNG and minerals accounted for around 81% of the nominal value of Queensland’s overseas merchandise exports in 2019-20.

After mining, the largest contribution to the Queensland economy in 2019-20 was from the health care and social assistance industry, accounting for $29.2 billion (or 8.6%). The health care sector is also the State’s largest employer, employing 354,700 workers in 2019-20. The health sector has been one of the major contributors to the Queensland economy over the last decade, growing by approximately 66% in real terms. As our population ages and the demand for health services increases, job opportunities in this sector are expected to increase.

Tourism contributed $12.7 billion to the Queensland economy in 2018-19, while the education and training sector contributed $18.4 billion (5.4% of total output) to Queensland’s economy in 2019-20. Our tourism market is the second largest in Australia, accounting for 22.7% of national tourism output and directly employing 145,400 persons in 2018-19.

Queensland also has strength in the financial and professional services sectors. Combined, these sectors accounted for $41.9 billion of Queensland economic output in 2019-20 and employed 252,300 people.

The second largest employer in the state is the construction sector, with 245,100 people employed in the industry in 2019-20. The construction industry contributed $27.3 billion (8.1% of total output) to Queensland’s economy in 2019-20, making it the State’s third largest sector.

Last updated: 18 December 2020