Economy of Sydney

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Median weekly household incomes by postal area in the 2011 census, red indicates high incomes, purple indicates low incomes. The North Shore and areas fronting Sydney Harbour tend to be more affluent, while the south is generally middle class and west is predominantly working class.

The economy of Sydney is notable for its importance in the areas of trading, manufacturing, finance and distribution in Australia. Sydney has the largest economy in Australia.

Sydney's CBD is the largest in Australia and also has plenty of surrounding commercial areas which are considered part of Sydney. A notable one is Parramatta, which is bigger than some state capitals.[citation needed]

Sydney city extends over the harbour bridge, forming North Sydney, a continuation of the CBD. North Sydney has a large economy; however it tends to have a high vacancy rate. Just a few kilometres north of North Sydney, is Sydney's third largest commercial area[citation needed], Chatswood. Chatswood's main economy is retail and is home to many highrise buildings, with its own recognisable skyline. 20th Century Fox has large Sydney studios.


Although the CBD dominated the city's business and cultural life in the early days, other business/cultural districts have developed in a radial pattern since World War II. In 1945, two-thirds of all jobs in Sydney were located in the City of Sydney and surrounding inner city municipalities, but post-war suburbanisation meant that only a quarter of the workforce were located in the City, South Sydney, Leichhardt and Marrickville municipalities.

With a boom in passenger railway construction came rapid extension of the suburbs along the railway corridors to the west and south, and eventually to the North Shore, after the completion of the Harbour Bridge allowed trains to continue from North Sydney into the CBD. This radial-spoke pattern of development changed after World War II, when increasing car ownership encouraged infill development where the railways didn't run, and then further expansion around the perimeter of the city. These outer areas have mostly missed out on further rail expansion and are primarily car dependent to this day.[1]

Financial centre[edit]

Both the Australian Securities Exchange and the Reserve Bank of Australia have their headquarters in Sydney. It is also a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific.[2] Sydney is home to the headquarters of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Sydney also serves as the regional headquarters for numerous multinational corporations.

Banking industry[edit]

Of the 57 authorised deposit-taking banks with operations in Australia, 44 are based in Sydney. This includes nine of the 11 foreign subsidiary banks in Australia and all of the 29 local branches of foreign banks. Major authorised foreign banks in Sydney include Citigroup, UBS Australia, Mizuho Corporate Bank, HSBC Bank Australia and Deutsche Bank. Other global banks have established highly successful back office operations in Sydney. As of July 2006, of the top 20 global banks, 17 have operations in Sydney.


Sydney is the largest manufacturing hub in Australia, with the value of the city's manufacturing industry surpassing $21 billion in 2012-13, overtaking that of Melbourne ($18.9 billion).[3] Sydney's manufacturing sector consists largely of domestic-focused and high-tech manufacturing such as biotechnology, food processing and advanced electronics.[4] Major manufacturing companies with operations in Sydney include Arnott's, Coca-Cola Amatil, Arrium, Visy, Amcor and Rheem, among many others.

Housing and employment[edit]

As of September 2003, the unemployment rate in Sydney was 5.3%.[5] As of March 2008, Sydney has the highest median house price of any Australian capital city at $550,890.[6] According to The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide cost of living survey, Sydney is the sixteenth most expensive city in the world.

According to a report published by the OECD in November 2005, Australia has the most overvalued houses in the Western world, with prices 52 percent higher than that justified by rental values.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spearitt, Peter, 2000, Sydney's Century: A History p. 122, Sydney: UNSW Press
  2. ^ Daly, M. T. and Pritchard, B. 2000. Sydney:Australia's financial and commercial capital. In J. Connell (Ed.). Sydney the emergence of a global city. pp 76-95. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-550748-7, pp 167-188
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2005. Sydney Statistical Division.
  6. ^ Australian Property Monitors. Official March 2008 Quarter Housing Data, Media Announcement
  7. ^ Boilling, M. 2 February 2006. City among most costly, Herald Sun