Predicted spikes in social disadvantage mean the New England region is looking down the barrel of a Covid recession.
The stark picture painted by a new modelling report from NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) outlines the region would rate alongside the worst-off in terms of unemployment, homelessness, housing stress, mental stress and domestic abuse.
Business NSW regional manager Joe Townsend accepts New England North West's economy is also sitting at the hardest-hit end, but remains confident if measures like payroll rebates are introduced we'll weather the storm.
The new report from Equity Economics, A wave of disadvantage across NSW: Impact of the COVID-19 recession, predicts the rising unemployment by June 2021, when JobKeeper has ceased, and if JobSeeker returns to its previous rate.
According to the modelling, by then our region is expected to rise to an 8.9 per cent unemployment rate.
The impact of border closures was also evident, with the Murray Riverina and New England North West regions among the weakest performing parts of the state.Joe Townsend
We come in third-worst behind Coffs Harbour (12.2 per cent) and the Mid North Coast (9.8 per cent), with Richmond - Tweed coming in afterwards, hitting 7.7 per cent.
Our homelessness rate would get to 10.4 per cent, suicides to 3.5 per cent and housing stress to 10 per cent.
Yet survey results released on Tuesday by Business NSW shows perceptions about the performance of the NSW economy have rebounded strongly from the record low recorded in June.
Mr Townsend said the strong bounce in business confidence is a welcome boost, giving a big tick to government decisions that have backed a business-led recovery.
But said while fewer businesses are scaling back, not many are in a position to expand staffing levels.
"The impact of border closures was also evident, with the Murray Riverina and New England North West regions among the weakest performing parts of the state," Mr Townsend said.
He and Business NSW wants to see the state budget include payroll tax rebates to continue their jobs push.