Two thirds of Hunter workers on JobKeeper in September are no longer receiving the wage subsidy, according to figures issued by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
A background document issued to the media shows 66 per cent of JobKeeper recipients in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and 68 per cent in the rest of the Hunter stopped receiving the payments between September and December.
The government dropped the fortnightly supplements from $1500 to $1200 on September 28 and to $1000 on January 4. The scheme runs out at the end of March.
An estimated 88,300 Hunter workers received JobKeeper during its first phase, dropping to 29,300 by December.
Other major NSW regional centres recorded similar falls in JobKeeper numbers, but Sydney remained more reliant on the subsidies. The Sutherland area, for instance, recorded a drop of 56 per cent in workers on JobKeeper and the Northern Beaches 60 per cent.
The background document, which is based on Tax Office data, said an estimated 520,000 firms and 2.13 million employees across Australia had "successfully graduated" from the program since the end of September.
About 1.54 million people were left on the scheme in December, down from 3.6 million in September.
Mr Frydenberg, who has resisted calls to extend the scheme in targeted sectors, used the data to suggest the government was "tapering" support as the economy was improving.
All industries experienced significant falls in the number of employees covered by JobKeeper, including retail trade (68 per cent), accommodation and food services (52 per cent), education and training (50 per cent), wholesale trade (71 per cent) and construction (48 per cent).
The Newcastle Heraldreported last month that the Hunter's official unemployment rate was 6.5 per cent in December, the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.
Newcastle's jobless rate peaked at 11 per cent in June as COVID-19 restrictions hit the labour market.