Government of Western Australia Official Site


WA Economic Profile for January 2017

Main updates this month

WA Government 2016-17 Mid-year Financial Projections

  • Western Australia’s real gross state product is forecast to grow 1.0 per cent in 2016-17, following 1.9 per cent growth in 2015-16.
  • Annual average population growth is forecast to increase to 1.2 per cent in 2016-17, following growth of 1.0 per cent in 2015-16.
  • Annual average employment is forecast to decline 1.5 per cent in 2016-17, with an average unemployment rate of 6.5 per cent.

Labour market

  • Western Australia’s employment fell by 7,900 to 1.33 million in December 2016.
  • The unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent in December 2016, below the 6.9 per cent in the previous month, but above the 6.2 per cent a year ago.
  • In 2016, employment rose in non-market services (up 10,200 or 3 per cent), agriculture, forestry and fishing (up 8,800 or 35 per cent), manufacturing (up 8,800 or 11 per cent), mining (up 5,800 or 6 per cent) and utilities (up 5,200 or 39 per cent) and fell in construction (down 22,900 or 15 per cent) and market services (down 19,400 or 3 per cent).

Business investment

  • In October 2016, Western Australia accounted for 70 per cent of the value of Australia’s major resource projects under construction or committed, according to the Office of the Chief Economist.


  • Western Australia’s principal agricultural commodity production rose 0.03 per cent to $6.0 billion in 2015-16 (includes wheat, barley, oats, sorghum, cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, poultry, pigs, wool and milk only).
  • Production rose for cattle and calves (up 31 per cent or $202 million), wool (up 22 per cent or $120 million) and sheep and lambs (up 7 per cent or $34 million) and fell for wheat (down 9 per cent or $232 million) and barley (down 11 per cent or $98 million) in 2015-16.

Commodity prices

  • In December 2016, the monthly average price of:
    • iron ore rose 10 per cent to US$80.0 a tonne
    • LNG was US$7.15 a million British thermal unit
    • crude oil rose 14 per cent to US$52.0 a barrel
    • gold fell 6.5 per cent to US$1,157 an ounce
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia’s monthly index of rural commodity prices fell 3 per cent in December 2016.


The latest WA Economic Profile will be available on the Department of State Development’s website soon.