Newcastle’s jobless rate is now back to pre-COVID levels, despite some growing pains as we get back to work.

The unemployment rate landed at 5.8 percent last month, compared to an 11 percent peak during last year’s pandemic and 7.6 percent in January. 

Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes says the data looks good for the future of the Hunter’s economic recovery.

“We haven’t seen the cliff that some were potentially anticipating with the end of Jobkeeper,” Mr Hawes said.

“There are sectors of our economy locally that are coping with COVID and in fact doing very well.”

Despite the promising figures, there’s been a record number of job ads and high vacancies in jobs like hospitality, medicine, sales, teaching, and clerical work. 

The Hunter’s jobless rate also remains above both the state and national jobless average.

Mr Hawes says there’s still “a bit of work to be done”.

“We’re getting down to that part where it starts to get difficult,” Mr Hawes.

“If businesses are going so well and they’re after people and the unemployment rate’s so low, the pool obviously gets a lot smaller.”

“We are hearing a lot of stories that businesses aren’t getting the response they anticipated.”

“Meeting the needs of both business and meeting the needs of people that are unemployed that are seeking work, we have to do a little reconciliation to understand what those linkages are.”

“[We have to] make sure that the programs that are out there are fit for purpose, and that any support, be it financial or training or whatever else is out there, is also current and is also relevant.”