FEW would have described recent times in the Hunter as a boom, yet new indicators match the region's best recent economic performances.
The Hunter's full-time jobs growth comfortably outstripped that of NSW generally, something Hunter Research Foundation Centre lead economist Anthea Bill said was a change "we hadn't seen previously".
This is good news for the region, and a sign that it does not rely on the rising tide of the broader state to decide its economic fortunes.
While there are always caveats, and the expansion of the building sector is one Dr Bill highlights, it is important to recognise strong performance.
It's also important to recognise that not all are enjoying the good times.
Just last month NSW Council of Social Service data showed 27 per cent of people in Jesmond and Shortland live below the poverty line.
The same breakfast also heard data reveals the face of the region, and who lives where, is changing.
That may not surprise those familiar with changes in suburbs that once boasted backyards, including Adamstown's growth corridor along Brunker Road, that are now dotted with units as the density required to hold the city's population adjusts.
Perhaps it is not surprising that Hunter Research Foundation Centre analysis has found that net internal migration for Newcastle was -763 in the age group of 25 to 44.
"In that family-formation and family-raising age group Newcastle has lost out in net terms, and particularly Maitland has gained there," HRFC lead economist Anthea Bill said.
Infrastructure is a key element to this change.
With the Hunter Expressway slashing travel times between rural parts of the region and Newcastle's western edge, commuting has become a much more viable option for those seeking affordability and space.
The next step, of course, is that those areas will naturally require another wave of support in the form of improved public transport and other types of supporting infrastructure that growing suburban areas demand.
Recognising this shift in regional demographics is crucial to guiding future development, and the Hunter Research Foundation Centre should be applauded for highlighting the state of the region.
Housing affordability is a factor in these changes, of course, and remains an issue of national importance. Dr Bill cites a 60 per cent rise in Newcastle prices over recent years.
As with interest rates at such low levels, there are winners and losers as these changes emerge.
On the whole, though, there is encouraging news for the region in this latest data. The next step is sustaining such positive signs.