The Canberra economy it is great to be different
Canberra has always been a little bit different from other Australian capitals. Sure, it’s not located on the coast. But of greater interest to investors is the fact Canberra has always punched above its weight when it comes to economic performance.
How so? Well for a start, the Canberra region might only be 2,400 square kilometres, but with a Gross State Product (GSP) of around $35 billion, it has a larger economy than either Tasmania or the Northern Territory, enjoying an average 2.7% growth per year over the last decade. On a GSP per capita basis, Canberra’s figures are nearly 40% higher than the Australian average.
And despite not having the mineral resources of the other Australian states, and only 1.6% of the national population, Canberra makes up 2.3% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
So what makes Canberra such a strong economic performer?
An active business community
With easy access to the Federal Government — the largest customer in the southern hemisphere and the 11th largest spender in the world — we have more than 25,000 active businesses in the region. The majority of these are SMEs, many of which are highly successful with exports worth more than $1.2 billion a year. The value of these exports has more than doubled over the past 10 years, and this growth is expected to continue.
A strong knowledge economy
Canberra has access to a young, highly educated workforce who are well placed to contribute to its well-established knowledge economy. Half of our GSP is made up of professional and technical services, education and training, public administration and healthcare, with a range of innovation schemes working to support our researchers, entrepreneurs and the broader business community.
A growing workforce
Our population of 390,000 looks set to reach half a million within the next 15 years. Over the last decade, employment has grown by 12.5%, or 2,300 new jobs each year. Compared to other regions, our long-term trend unemployment rate of 3.5% is extremely low, while our long-term trend participation rate of 72.6% is relatively high.
Above average incomes
So we’re a busy bunch. Well paid too. Average incomes in Canberra are nearly 40 per cent higher than the national average. Even when adjusted for purchasing power parity, Canberra’s income ranks highly amongst other international cities and is on par with Singapore.
With this kind of report card, it’s easy to see why international businesses are looking to Canberra for their Australian operations.
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