Service industries


Economic contribution | Contribution by industries to GSP | Contribution by industries to employment | Economic Development Framework | Explanatory notes

Economic contribution

In 2016‑17, service industries accounted for 19.5% of the Northern Territory’s (NT) gross state product (GSP) and 33.6% of the NT’s employment. On a national level, service industries constituted a higher proportion of GDP (35.8%) and total employment (38.4%) than the NT. A notable discrepancy exists between the share of GSP and share of employment in the NT, which is indicative of high employment in labour-intensive industries such as accommodation and food services.

Over the last 10 years, service industries have had a relatively consistent share of the NT’s GSP and total employment, with a 10‑year average of 18.2% for GSP and 33.5% for employment (Chart 1 ).

Contribution by industries to GSP

In 2016‑17, the total value of service industries increased by 8.4% compared to the previous financial year. This was driven by a 38.7% increase in professional, scientific and technical services, a 21.9% increase in administrative and support services, an 8.3% increase in finance and insurance services, and a 8.0% increase in arts and recreation services. The increase for professional, scientific and technical services may be attributed to increased mining exploration in the year and the delay of the Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project into 2018. The increase was partly offset by a 3.4% decrease in transport, postal and warehousing services, a 3.1% decrease in other services, a 1.9% decrease in rental, hiring and real estate services, and a 0.5% decrease in electricity, gas, water and waste services.

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

Contribution by industries to employment

The service industries reported a 5.5% increase in employment for 2016‑17. This growth was mainly driven by a 10.2% increase in accommodation and food services employment, an 11.7% increase in professional, scientific and technical services, a 10.8% increase in administrative and support services, a 16.5% increase in electricity, gas, water and waste services, and a 15.7% increase in information media and telecommunications. Employment growth in accommodation and food services is consistent with overall growth in part-time employment seen in the NT labour force in 2016-17. The increase in total services industry employment was partly offset by a 5.3% decrease in other services, and 2.2% decrease in transport, postal and warehousing.

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.

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, especially in service sectors. 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.

As part of the release of 2016-17 GSP data, the ABS made revisions to the time series at the industry level to reflect improvements to the source data and methods used. The household final consumption expenditure estimates were revised to include updated data from the Household Expenditure Survey 2015-16, the Retail and Wholesale Survey 2012‑13 and the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. In the NT, this change had the largest impact on chain volume measures of rent and other dwelling services. Revisions were also made to the methodology and data sources of industry gross value added to allow for differences between states and territories to be better represented. As a result of these revisions, significant disparities exist compared to earlier publications of industry GSP and are no longer directly comparable.