The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed a fall in regional unemployment rates in August as a sign of a more buoyant regional economy, but warns that the winding back of JobKeeper support from next week will pose additional challenges for businesses that have been relying on the wage subsidy.
Unemployment in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie fell from 9.7 per cent in July to 9.3 per cent in August, while in the Hunter Valley statistical area it fell from 7.8 per cent to 6.2 per cent.
Statewide, unemployment fell from 7.2 per cent to 6.7 per cent, with more than 51,000 new jobs created.
“The figures reinforce what we are seeing anecdotally, which is increased business activity, particularly across some of the sectors that were most affected at the start of the crisis,” Mr Hawes said.
“However as some sectors recover others, such as mining, are coming under increased pressure.
“We will also see JobKeeper subsidies reduced from next week, which will force those businesses relying on the subsidy to make up the wages shortfall to maintain current staff levels.”
Mr Hawes said changes to insolvency laws announced today would give businesses more leeway to trade out of difficulties, rather than being forced to shut their doors. It would also help stem the ‘domino effect’ where businesses along a supply chain can be adversely affected by the failure of a related business.
Mr Hawes stressed that businesses that were having cash flow problems should seek advice sooner rather than later.
"Unfortunately, many businesses leave it too late before seeking advice and find their business is beyond the point where it can be saved,” he said.
“We urge businesses to seek early advice from an accountant, insolvency expert or business management consultant to give themselves the best chance of trading out of their troubles.”