Service industries


The Northern Territory's (NT) service industries cover a wide range of sectors. While many of them are small when looked at individually, they combine to make up a large proportion of the NT's gross state product. These include rental, hiring and real estate services; transport, postal and warehousing; professional, scientific and technical services; financial and insurance services; administrative and support services; electricity, gas, water and waste services; accommodation and food services; arts and recreation services; information media and telecommunications; and a range of other service sector categories.

Infographic showing value of NT industry Infographic showing GSP Infographic showing persons employed Infographic show percentage of NT workforce


Economic contribution | Contribution to employment | Economic Development Framework | Explanatory notes

Economic contribution

A notable discrepancy exists between the share of gross state product (GSP) and share of employment in the Northern Territory (NT), which is indicative of high employment in labour-intensive industries, such as accommodation and food services. Over the past decade, the combined service industries has had a relatively consistent share of the NT’s economic growth and total employment, averaging 18.6% for GSP and 35.6% for employment (Chart 1).

In 2017‑18, the combined service industries accounted for 19.4% of the NT’s GSP, compared to 36.1% of the national gross domestic product (GDP). Over the year, the total value of service industries increased by 1.5 per cent, primarily driven by growth in the professional, scientific and technical services (up 2.3%), accommodation and food services (up 2.5%), and financial and insurance services (up 4.0%). This increase was partly offset by a decline in the transport, postal and warehousing sector (down 2.3%), which has the largest contribution to the total value of the combined service industries.

For more information on contribution by industries, see the main industry summary page.

For more information on contribution by industries, see the main industry summary page.

Contribution to employment

In 2017-18, employment in the combined service industries declined by 0.4% to about 46 340 employed persons. This accounted for 33.7% of the total NT resident workforce. The employment contraction in the combined service industries was a result of a fall in accommodation and food services (down 7.3%), professional, scientific and technical services (down 5.2%), electricity, gas, water and waste services (down 14.3%), rental, hiring and real estate services (down 7.0%) and administrative and support services (down 5.0%). Nationally, the combined service industries increased by 2.6%, representing 38.0% of the total national workforce.

Since then, recent data shows the employment in the NT combined service industries increased by 2.8% to 47 376 persons in the year to November 2018 (Chart 2). This resulted in an increase in the contribution to the total resident workforce, now representing 34.8%. This increase was largely driven by employment growth in other services (up 12.7%), administrative and support services (up 28.5%), arts and recreational services (up 31.1%) and information media and telecommunications (up 56.2%). Nationally, the combined service industries decreased by 24.0%, now representing 37.8% of the total workforce.

For more information on contribution by industries, see the main industry summary page.

Economic Development Framework

Through the Economic Development Framework, the NT Government is committed to investing in developing industries, particularly related to services. Such industries include creative industries, tropical health, environmental services and renewable energy. While these industries are individually small in size, they offer significant growth opportunities for the NT economy. The traditional commodity industries are less reliant on labour and are heavily influenced by external factors such as exchange rates, market prices and foreign investment. These developing industries diversify the NT economy and promote stable, sustainable economic growth, as well as providing employment opportunities.

Explanatory notes

Service industries cover a wide variety of sectors that, while individually small, combine to contribute a large proportion of the NT’s GSP. With no unifying feature, economic performance is varied among the service industries, with significant growth opportunities for the NT economy.

The service industries category comprises: rental, hiring and real estate services; transport, postal and warehousing; professional, scientific and technical services; financial and insurance services; administrative and support services; electricity, gas, water and waste services; accommodation and food services; arts and recreation services; information media and telecommunications; and other services.

It is important to note the increase in total value of service industries does not always correspond to an increase in total employment, which highlights the variety of service industries, some of which are labour intensive, such as accommodation and food services, and others that are less labour intensive and usually dependent on emerging technologies, such as the information, media and telecommunication industry.