Hunter suburbs have been listed in a new report that reveals areas most vulnerable to job losses related to the COVID-19 crisis.
The research highlighted 108 areas of emerging disadvantage for job losses across Australia, including Belmont South to Blacksmiths, West Maitland and Singleton.
The border area between Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast was also highlighted in this section of emerging disadvantage, including Lake Munmorah to Mannering Park and Summerland Point to Gwandalan.
The research also listed 97 areas of existing disadvantage for job losses including Cessnock, Kurri Kurri to Abermain, Raymond Terrace, Mount Hutton to Windale, Beresfield to Hexham, Shortland to Jesmond and Muswellbrook.
The researchers used Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data and insights on jobs most affected by an economic downturn.
They mapped Australian suburbs "susceptible to economic and social disadvantage due to COVID-19 job losses", creating the so-called "Employment Vulnerability Index 3.0".
University of Newcastle Economics Professor Bill Mitchell, who co-authored the report, said the Hunter "doesn't typically do very well in a recession".
"We don't know how quickly the economy will rebound. We don't know how many businesses will go broke and never come back," Professor Mitchell said.
As the lockdown eases, "employment will bounce back fairly well straight away".
"But it's very likely it won't bounce back completely and there'll be an elevated level of unemployment."
Some businesses may not recover.
"Those businesses will be concentrated in tourism, hospitality, restaurants and cafes," he said.
Professor Mitchell warned against withdrawing government support too soon.
The end result would depend on "the impact of the federal government's economic rescue package and the depth of the economic downturn".
"Outcomes may not be as bad as some have predicted."
Co-author Professor Scott Baum, of Griffith University, said areas with existing disadvantage face further "social and economic malaise" and a widening gap with the rest of the nation.
In areas of emerging disadvantage, "some workers will transition with the economy, while others may not be so lucky".
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