John Nicolaou. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

Perth may not have a mine in sight but it is the State's economic powerhouse.

An analysis by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that even without iron ore, natural gas, gold and diamonds, the central business district produces the biggest share of WA's growing economic output.

And other parts of the city are increasingly important to WA's economic picture.

The analysis, the first of its type, attempted to delineate by postcode the source of the nation's annual economic production.

Through last year, WA produced $251.7 billion worth of goods and services. Of that, more than 11 per cent, or close to $25.5 billion, came out of the terraces and laneways of central Perth.

While the CBD is home to mining houses such as Fortescue Metals and BHP Billiton, the figures exclude the value of mining production.

Other parts of the city are also important to the State's economy, including the Osborne Park industrial area, the Subiaco-Shenton Park area, Nedlands and Welshpool.

PricewaterhouseCoopers economist and policy senior manager Rob Tyson said it was not only the many workers in central Perth that made it such an important economic area.

The high levels of construction across the CBD, plus the growth in financial and professional services, all added to the city's key role in the economy. "It's the financial services, the professional services, the government, the construction that all makes Perth so valuable," he said.

WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist John Nicolaou said the figures highlighted the importance of the mineral-rich north and the people-rich CBD.

He said regulatory changes, such as to liquor licensing laws, coupled with population growth had all aided central Perth.

The research found economic output is becoming more concentrated.

WA is the most concentrated State in the country, with almost half of all output coming from just 10 postcodes.

Nationally, Sydney's CBD is the country's most important area, followed by Melbourne.

Apart from three WA mining regions, the rest of the top 10 are urban areas.

About 10 per cent of Australia's economic output comes from an area the size of Rottnest Island.

Many rural areas, such as Kojonup and Esperance, suffered a double-digit figure economic contraction after poor seasons.

They should bounce back.

The West Australian

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