THE latest set of labour force data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows the unemployment rate in the region is at its highest point since September last year, but that statistic is expected to worsen.
In the New England - north west it increased from 4.8 per cent in June to 6.7 percent in July, coinciding with the introduction of restrictions in regional NSW.
However, Business NSW regional manager Joe Townsend said the figures for August are likely to look worse.
"It's a bit of a puzzle, and given it's a pandemic we don't really get a true, accurate reflection of the impact lockdowns are having," he said.
"At the moment, if you look at the ABS figures, it doesn't probably indicate the jobs lost that we expected from the month of July given the flow on effect from the Sydney lockdown.
"But given the New England region, or most of us, were in lockdown come August, I think the August jobs market will certainly have that flow-on effect."
It is important to look at the underlying numbers beyond just unemployment though, with the participation ac rate [sum of all workers who are employed or actively seeking employment divided by the total, civilian working-age population] actually increasing.
It went from 59.5 to 60.1 per cent, indicating there were more people actively looking for work in July, which contributed to the unemployment stat rising.
However, the difference between the sexes was stark on both figures, with the unemployment and participation rates both dropping for females.
Another thing Mr Townsend said was important to keep in mind was the amount of hours worked by employed people, with underemployment becoming a larger issue during restrictions.
Despite all of this, he said the data is capable of bouncing back quickly after lockdown ends, and in particular when the whole state opens up.
"As soon as we're out of lockdown we'll see confidence recover, individuals will be re-employed back in the retail market, accommodation and hospitality sectors as well," he said.
"So we probably won't see that full flow-on effect of new jobs being created until the whole state is out of lockdown.
"We are a very interconnected region that relies on business from western NSW, business from Sydney, Queensland, Victoria, places like that.
"So until those borders come down, then we won't see a sort of true recovery like we saw at the end of last year."
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