Economic Profile

Economic Profile

The Richmond Valley economic profile provides a snapshot of the Valley economy, its strengths and weaknesses, and identifies areas of opportunity and growth. 

Compiled by demographic data experts .id, the information is derived from the latest data from official sources of information (Australian Bureau of Statistics) as well as Australia’s leading economic modellers NIER.

Click here to view an up-to-date and comprehensive economic profile of the Richmond Valley.

Brief overview

The Richmond Valley area is home to strong primary agricultural industries and associated food manufacturing, including beef production, dairy products, sugar processing, plus grain, fruits, vegetables, tea tree, timber and the fishing industry.

These industries are supported by a skilled and highly regarded workforce, a range of service industries, including the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange located at Casino, various sub-contractors, and transport and logistics operators.  The Richmond Valley is well located for principle road, rail and air transport routes south to Sydney and north to Queensland.

In addition to manufacturing, our climate, coast and hinterland attract strong tourism interest all year round.  The Richmond Valley has major business and industry strengths which offer opportunities for developing a robust and resilient economy that can cater for future population growth while nurturing liveability, a strong sense of community and a sense of place.

For further information and assistance in relation to business and investment please contact the Richmond Valley Economic Development Team on (02) 6660 0300.

Key facts

Gross product and population

  • The Richmond Valley’s gross regional product (GRP) is estimated at $1 billion, which represents 0.15% of NSW’s gross state product.
  • The estimated population as of March 2021 was 23,490. Contrary to some regional and rural areas which have suffered population decline, the Valley’s population is on a steady upward trajectory.

Major industries and employment

  • The largest industry, in employment terms, is manufacturing (primarily food manufacturing), accounting for 32.8% of the almost 70000 full-time equivalent (FTE) local jobs available in the Richmond Valley in the 2019-2020 financial year.
  • Agriculture is the next biggest employer, responsible for 10% of FTE jobs, followed health care/social assistance (8.8%), and education and training (7.8%).
  • These sectors are closely followed by construction, and retail, which each account for 6.5% of FTE employment opportunities.


  • As of the December 2020 quarter, the estimated unemployment rate in the Richmond Valley was 5.9%.
  • As of December 2020, the estimated unemployment rate was below the estimated national average (6.5%), and state average (6.2%), showing the Richmond Valley economy has been resilient in the face of the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building approvals and development

  • Total building approvals in the Richmond Valley are on the increase, with $34 million worth of development approvals in 2019-2020, and the Valley on track for another increase in 2020-2021. Across the local government area there is a demand for more residential housing, which Council is endeavoring to support.


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