According to a poll by peak regional manufacturing body HunterNet, most manufacturers in the Hunter region have cut their workforces in the past year.
As the Newcastle Herald reports, the survey was completed by over a third of HunterNet’s 200 members. It found that, of those companies which have cut jobs, 75 per cent have cut their workforce by a quarter.
According to HunterNet chief executive Tony Cade, the job losses can be explained by a number of factors, including the high Australian dollar, a deferral of defence projects and low infrastructure investment.
Survey respondents shared this view. 35 per cent rated the high level of imports as a threat to their businesses and 33 per cent were concerned about the high Australian dollar.
However, the poll also brought some good news to light. Cade pointed to a result which showed three-quarters of businesses intend to grow their operations.
‘‘People have still got the hatches battened down but, at the same time, many are still looking for growth opportunities, so they are down but not out,’’ he said.
Cade also nominated the mining sector downturn as a factor which is affecting manufacturing in the Hunter.
This issue is also being felt on the other side of the continent in Western Australia. As the ABC reports, the latest edition of Deloitte's WA Index states that low commodity prices are having an adverse effect on that state’s manufacturing industry.