New Economic Insights Report

Wollongong City Council has released the first ‘Economics Insights Report’ which provides an update on the Wollongong economy and includes commentary on a range of economic indicators and data including unemployment data, local jobs numbers, GRP, spending data and more.

Key highlights from the January 2024 report are outlined below –

  • Wollongong’s quarterly unemployment rate at 2.7% (June 2023) was lower than the state and national rates of 3.2% and 3.5% respectively. This is a 50 year low, with the last time Wollongong saw a similar figure being in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
  • During the last four years, 2017/18 to 2021/22 (noting there is a lag in the data), there was an increase of 6,730 jobs. This is 64% of the target set in the Economic Development Strategy 2019-29 of 10,500 additional jobs by 2028. Over this time period, Wollongong has experienced a 7.4% increase in jobs, in comparison to a 3.7% increase in jobs across NSW. The top three sectors that experienced the highest growth over this period include Health Care and Social Assistance (+2,295), Construction (+1,649), and Public Administration and Safety (+954).
  • The Illawarra region’s youth unemployment data has fallen over recent years, to 5.4% (February 2023), however this has risen over the last two quarters to 7% (September 2023).
  • The number of cranes is an indication of significant construction projects. The number of cranes across Wollongong and Shellharbour remains strong with 13 cranes (September 2023 quarter).
  • The Wollongong CBD is an important employment precinct, with 24,396 people employed – accounting for 28% of the total jobs in the Wollongong LGA. The figures highlight the extent to which the CBD has transitioned away from a pure retail hub, to an employment hub for the broader region.
  • Spending data (Spendmapp) remains relatively steady in aggregate terms despite recent interest rate rising and cost of living pressures. Some points of interest include:
    • The usual December peak occurred, although slightly lower by 2.5% compared to the month of December 2022.
    • Interestingly over the entire 12 months of 2023, spending LGA wide was just 1.4% lower in real terms than the previous year.
    • The decline in expenditure within the CBD was slightly larger, with spending across the entire 12 months of 2023 5.7% less than the previous 12 months.
    • Dining and entertainment has been one of the highest spending categories for LGA expenditure and is the highest spending category within the CBD. Over the entire 12 months of 2023, total expenditure on dining and entertainment within the CBD was up 1.6% compared to 2022.
    • Resident Escape Spending has remained relatively steady since the end of 2021. Escape spending has approximately ranged between $100M to $120M per month, to key locations including Shellharbour Square, Sydney CBD, and Miranda.
    • Online spending by residents across the LGA actually fell over the past 12 months by 4.4%. Limitations in the data do not allow us to determine to what extend the online spending represents escape spending, ie Amazon, or is local ie Uber Eats.

Read this report and learn more

Contact us

Get in touch to learn more.

Subscribe for Exclusive Updates

Sign-up to our eNewsletter to be the first to hear about the latest opportunities, benefits and market news.