Economic recovery sustained in Upper Hunter
Household and business confidence are signalling a sustained economic recovery in the Upper Hunter. They improved in the December quarter, according to the latest Upper Hunter Region Economic Indicators.
The Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre released the publication at its Upper Hunter Economic breakfast, held at Muswellbrook RSL.
HRF Centre lead economist, Dr Anthea Bill, said that the short-term economic expectations of businesses in the Upper Hunter improved substantially in the December 2017 quarter. They reached the highest value on record.
“The impetus for the positive business outlook and performance comes from sustained higher coal prices, historically low interest rates and improvement in national and global economies,” Dr Bill said.
Household confidence in the Upper Hunter outlook for the next quarter rose substantially in the second half of 2017. Optimists now substantially outnumber pessimists. Household confidence is currently well above the five-year average.
However, Dr Bill said there was a greater improvement in confidence in the short-term regional outlook than the long-term. That appears to reflect a degree of uncertainty around whether higher global coal prices will be sustained over the longer-term, she said.
Mental health in the Upper Hunter was a significant theme at the breakfast. Speakers included Professor Alan Hayes of the University of Newcastle’s Family Action Centre, Andrew McMahon, CEO of MATES in Mining, and Pauline Carrigan, Founder of Where There's a Will Foundation.
The HRF Centre will release its annual report on trends in use of information and communication technologies among the region’s business. Key findings from this Upper Hunter Businesses and Digital Technology report will be summarised in Dr Bill’s presentation. Dr Bill will also cover recent data on wellbeing in the Upper Hunter.