Confidence growing in Hunter economy
Business and consumer confidence in the economy, both in the short and long-term, rose in the December 2015 quarter, providing some bright spots in the Hunter’s economic outlook, according to Hunter Research Foundation’s (HRF) latest Hunter Economic Indicators.
HRF CEO Dr Brent Jenkins said that business expectations have risen significantly above lows of 12 months earlier, including in relation to sales and hiring intentions.
“Businesses need to invest to improve our medium to longterm economic outlook and the latest data from HRF’s quarterly HUNTERPulse survey indicate greater willingness by Hunter firms to invest,” he said. “However, Hunter businesses are starting from a low base. Although the share of businesses citing lack of sales as a major impediment has moderated since June 2015, it remains above pre- GFC levels.”
There are also positive trends in the Hunter’s labour market, with growing employment and falls in the unemployment rate. With three consecutive increases in full-time employment, both nationally and locally, there is evidence that recent trends may not be temporary. HRF released the Hunter Economic Indicators at its Hunter Economic Breakfast at Wests New Lambton on 11 March, as well as the results of its Hunter Attitudes to Environment and Energy Usage and HRF Hunter Innovation Space Assessment research projects.
The breakfast also featured CSIRO energy economist Paul Graham, and Manager of the Tom Farrell Institute’s Future Industries Program Dr Gary Ellem speaking on future energy trends and opportunities.
The Hunter Economic Indicators and the presentations are available for download from www.hrf.com.au