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Labour force statistics show encouraging trend

The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed an uptick in jobs and improvement in unemployment in the latest regional labour force statistics for much of the Hunter region.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show unemployment in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie statistical area dropped from 11.1 per cent to 9.7 per cent in July, with the number of employed people rising by more than 3,500.

Unemployment in the remainder of the Hunter Valley rose from 7.4 to 7.8 per cent as more people looked for work but statistics show employment rose by 1,300.Youth unemployment remained high, however, at 21.6 per cent in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and 14.5 per cent in the Hunter Valley.

“The small pick-up in jobs and steadying of unemployment rates are generally telling a positive story for business, and is what we would expect to see as businesses scaled back up following the easing of restrictions in May,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.

“However, we are not seeing new businesses opening and youth unemployment remains unacceptably high, which reinforces the need for government to extend subsidies for apprenticeships and traineeships to include incentives for new placements as well as existing employees.

“We have to move beyond the stage of getting businesses in lifeboats, which JobKeeper has done, and get them back on firm ground where they feel safe enough to make decisions about growth and employment.

”The Business NSW Skilling Australia report estimated there would be a drop in apprentice and trainee intake of about 36 per cent this year without further government intervention. That would mean the loss of about 2,500 new jobs across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

“The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees scheme has been a very positive COVID initiative, and the inclusion of larger employers from late September will help more young people retain their jobs,” Mr Hawes said.

“But we are also advocating strongly for incentives to encourage new placements, to address the youth unemployment figures and prevent disruption to the skills pipeline.”

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