Monday, 25 November, 2019


Employment grew more strongly in the Hunter than in NSW over the year to September 2019. The Hunter rate grew by 4.7 per cent compared to 3.1 per cent growth in the State, for a three-month moving average. This positive finding was part of an economic presentation by Dr Anthea Bill, HRF Centre lead economist, at the Hunter Economic breakfast on 15 November.

Over the last six months, the number of full-time jobs in the Hunter rose more than the number of part-time jobs, Dr Bill stated. NSW employment growth followed a similar trend, but full-time jobs did not grow as strongly in the State as in the Hunter.

“Despite poor business performance for the June quarter, there is not yet evidence in the September data that the Hunter labour market is slowing,” Dr Bill explained. “Labour market conditions had also remained strong at the national level. That is despite a slowing in economic growth that has produced GDP growth rates similar to those experienced during the Global Financial Crisis.”

Strong jobs growth in the region corresponded with a fall in the unemployment rate, from 4.7 per cent to 4.1 per cent (three-month moving average) from May to September 2019. The NSW rate is slightly higher at 4.3 per cent. These unemployment rates are low compared with history, especially for NSW and Victoria.

“The rate has not been this low in the region since December 2013. That is just before impacts of the end of the mining investment boom began to be felt in the labour market,” Dr Bill said.

The region has seen some strong increases in labour supply over the year. That is despite labour force participation rates softening slightly in the September quarter. These figures are consistent with the national picture. There has been a rise in labour force participation, particularly among women and older Australians, according to the Reserve Bank.

So, more people are working in the region even though business performance has not strengthened. 

Download Dr Bill’s presentation to see more results for the regional economy.