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Healthy rise in sport, leisure jobs
Personal trainer Laura Brittain. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Australians have gone on a fitness binge - and it is delivering tens of thousands of new jobs.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from last year's Census revealed a 21 per cent jump in the number of people employed in sport and recreation since 2006.

It is one of the fastest-growing employment sectors over the five years to 2011, with more than 95,000 people nationally now working in the area.

The increase was led by a 56 per cent increase in fitness instructors - there are now more than 21,500. In WA, the number grew 42 per cent to 1979.

Among them is Laura Brittain, who works both at the Loftus Recreation Centre and as a freelance personal trainer. She got her qualifications last year after deciding to lose weight.

Between her two jobs she works about 35 hours a week. "It is not hard to find clients because I think more people are aware of their body image," she said.

Other areas of sport and recreation in WA had growth. The number of swimming instructors rose 40 per cent to more than 1000 and there are now 73 dog handlers and trainers, six fishing guides and 112 outdoor adventure instructors in WA.

But the number of jockeys (64), snow-sport instructors (5) and gunsmiths (14) are on the slide.

Horse trainers and breeders are among those who work long hours. Seventy-five per cent of breeders and three-quarters of all trainers said they worked more than 40 hours a week.

The best paid sport is football, with more than a third of the nation's 1600 professionals taking home at least $2000 a week.