Unemployment rates across the Hunter region have remained relatively stable for April, despite the end of JobKeeper in late March.
Monthly data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has seen unemployment in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie increase from 5.1 to 5.8 per cent and fall across the rest of the Hunter Valley from 4.3 per cent to 3.3 per cent.
“This is in line with the state and national trends, which showed only small variations in the unemployment rate between March and April,” Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes said.
“This is encouraging in that it suggests the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy in late March has had minimal impact on the workforce.
“However, we remain concerned and somewhat puzzled by the continuing trend of high youth unemployment in our region.
“While the youth unemployment rates have been coming down since the start of the year, the monthly figures of 13.9 per cent for the Hunter and 11.7 per cent for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are at odds with other indicators that suggest there are jobs in the market.
“The jobs vacancy index is well above pre-COVID levels, local hospitality and other businesses have placards out looking for workers and there has been a big uptake new apprenticeships and traineeships with the continuation of wage subsidies for new placements.
“The National Skills Commission’s Internet Vacancy index for April shows there were 5,100 job vacancies across Newcastle and the Hunter last month, an increase of 52.6 per cent on May 2020.
“What we are possibly seeing is a lag as people move across industries due to the time taken to retrain or upskill before they find work in a new sector. We know that jobs growth and skills shortages have not been felt evenly across all sectors.”