Highs in Hunter householders’ confidence not seen since before the Global Financial Crisis in 2009 are fuelling increased employment and business confidence, according to Hunter Research Foundation’s (HRF) June quarter Hunter Economic Indicators.
Principal HRF economist and author of the Indicators, Dr Alan Rai, said low interest rates and a lower Australian dollar have supported a reduction in the Hunter’s unemployment rate.
“A one per cent rise in Hunter employment since March has led to an improvement in the unemployment rate, from a 15-year high of 10.3 per cent in March to 9.1 per cent at the end of May,” Alan said.
“The decline has been even greater amongst the Region’s 15-24 year olds, although this may partly reflect some young people giving up the search for work.”
The improving economic conditions are also reflected in a rise in the Hunter’s dwelling approvals, a leading indicator of residential investment, although the Region lags the State, where mostly Sydney-based approvals continue to set new records.
HRF released the full Hunter Economic Indicators at its Hunter Economic Breakfast yesterday morning, as well as the June 2015 results of its Hunter Region Businesses and Digital Technology survey on how regional businesses and consumers are engaging with the digital economy.
Social media guru Nick Bowditch, innovation expert Christina Gerakiteys and Head of Newcastle Business School, Professor Morris Altman also spoke at the breakfast, as part of the final event in the 2015 Hunter Innovation Festival.