Confidence is on the increase – and that’s both consumer and business confidence.

This cautiously optimistic assessment comes from Hunter Valley Research Foundation Senior Research Fellow Jenny Williams at the Foundation’s quarterly economic briefing on Friday, October 25.

The return of positive sentiment reflects – and is possibly supported by – solid indicators in the economic spectrum.  These include jobs, business investment – especially in non-residential construction – and higher house prices.

Mrs Williams said employment had plateaued over the past six months, but this was at a high level and was measured in raw numbers.

Closer analysis showed there was a drift from full-time jobs to casual.

The Hunter’s unemployment rate was 5.2 per cent, compared with a State average of 5.6 per cent, with participation rates at (that is, those looking for work) at 63.3 per cent and 63.9 per cent respectively.

Private and public investment in the region was down, but rising residential building approvals and promised strong public expenditure forecast from the proceeds of the sale of the Port of Newcastle and other projects pointed to growth in these sectors.

The measure of the region’s business confidence – based on expected trading and profitability and employment – rose into positive territory at 0.17 per cent in the latest quarter, up from a flat zero in the previous quarter.

Mrs Williams’ data showed there was a higher percentage of people who rented their homes rather than bought or financed to own, although it was inconclusive whether this was a choice or forced by housing affordability.

Other speakers at the briefing were CommSec Chief Economist Craig James and the University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen.

Mr James said Australia’s prosperity was, and would likely remain so for some time, underpinned by economic growth in China specifically and in Asia generally.

Barring budgetary irresponsibility in the political plays of the USA, which could have world-wide consequences, there was no reason to expect the Australian economy would move far from its present position of 3 per cent annual, inflation in the 2.25 to 2.75-per cent range, wages growth at 3 per cent and interest rates at 2.5 per cent, he said.

Business confidence and investment planning had improved since the election, he said.

Professor McMillen outlined how the University of Newcastle has created learning and creative synergies through innovation and networking skills at regional, national and international levels.

Detailed information on Mrs Williams’ presentation is available at

A better-than-expected September unemployment figure of 5.6 per cent hides a deeper concern in the jobs arena, says JobsInTheHunter/JobsOnTheCoast CEO Tim O’Brien.

The unemployment rate had plateaued at 5.7 per cent since mid-year, which was positive.

But the rate of jobs growth was slowing and the participation rate – that is the number actively looking for work – has fallen, Mr O’Brien said.

“In the Hunter Region, the biggest impact is caused by the switch in the coal industry from mine development to a production focus.  This is behind some of the turndown in employment because production is more capital intensive while construction is labour intensive,” he said.

“It remains to be seen what impact the new federal government and its policies will have on new mine start-ups and other infrastructure investment, such as Newcastle’s proposed T4 coal loader project.”

Mr O’Brien said there were some signs that seasonal employment in retail would start to lift over coming weeks.

There were 9100 jobs added in September as the unemployment rate fell from August’s four-year high of 5.8 per cent. Full-time positions rose by 5000 while part-time jobs lifted by 4100 in September.

The participation rate was 64.9 per cent, down from 65 per cent in August. The aggregate monthly hours worked fell to 1.6 billion hours.

There has been a growing interest in the online jobs market via the JobsInTheHunter/JobsOnTheCoast websites over recent months, reflecting growing unemployment and insecurity by some still in work, Mr O’Brien said.

Hits to the combined Hunter and Central Coast sites were 81,288 in September, a rise of almost 3560 per cent on September last year.

“Our websites are quickly becoming the premier market for jobs in the Hunter and Central Coast regions at their respective sites at and,” Mr O’Brien said.

130913 CEO O'Brien #01

The on-line jobs website has bucked the trend of higher unemployment.

The website that started early this year has grown to list more than 450 jobs this week.

Its sister-site on the Central Coast shows a similarly buoyant result with about 200 jobs listed, making a combined total of 650 jobs across the two regions.

JobsInTheHunter and JobsOnTheCoast CEO Tim O’Brien said the lift of 0.1 per cent in the national figure of registered unemployed to 5.8 per cent was in line with expectations.

“But it’s clear that employers are looking for new and better ways to fill their vacancies and our websites, where employers can advertise and self-manage their vacancies for free, have grown traction rapidly over the year,” he said.

The site also welcomes use by recruitment agencies and employment service-providers as an additional resource for them in fulfilling their client needs.

Mr O’Brien said there were some signs that seasonal employment in retail would start to lift over coming weeks.

The lift in the number of vacancies corresponded with greater volumes of visitors looking through the lists of jobs.

Hits to the combined Hunter and Central Coast sites are almost 89,000 a month, a rise of almost 60 per cent on August last year.

“Jobs growth is a stated priority of the new federal government and changing dynamics in the regional economies ensure there will be continued interest in and,” Mr O’Brien said.

Picture: CEO Tim O’Brien


The local jobs website,, and your local community newspaper, The Post, have joined forces to make finding your next job easier.

The joint venture will mean The Post will have a selection of the hundreds of local jobs listed weekly on the website and this list of vacancies will be conveyed to the newspaper’s 290,000 plus readers. CEO Tim O’Brien said the partnership with The Post would increase the reach of the jobs website at a critical time as predictions are that unemployment will rise.

“The success of the website has outstripped expectations since it began late last year,” Mr O’Brien said.

“And, as with any business, getting known is a critical phase of establishment and development.

“This partnership with The Post will introduce to a vast number of people in the newspaper’s circulation area throughout Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Lower Hunter,” he said.

Sales Manager at The Post Paul Ellmers said he has been impressed by the professionalism, efficiency and potential of and likes the concept of local jobs for local people. “I am excited with the joint venture as it fits with The Post’s mantra of being unashamedly local first, second and third and also adds to the continued evolution of our newspapers.”

The Post will have from this week a selected number of jobs listed in the Positions Vacant section of its classified advertising pages.

For businesses wanting to recruit, the combined and The Post newspaper’s 139,000 home delivery package provides unrivalled reach to people throughout the region.

To view this week’s digital edition of The Post just click the following link…

Blog-Post CEO Tim O’Brien has appointed a Director of Business Partnerships and Customer Relations.

David Smeeth has 17 years of experience in Information Technology industry with a large amount of this time working in Business Development and Relationship Management on the Newcastle and the Central Coast.

His role will cover both the Hunter Region and the Central Coast. prides itself on serving the local jobs market and I have had a career-long commitment to serving local business,” Mr Smeeth said.

“There are challenging times predicted for this region and for employment, so the website and the service it offers both jobseekers and local business will become even more vitally important.”

CEO Tim O’Brien says Mr Smeeth’s appointment comes shortly after the merger of and the website, which makes the premier jobs website for local recruitment.

There are consistently 370 or more jobs listed on the website with an average of 80 new jobs listed each week.

Mr Smeeth joins Mal Kearney, who has been working for six months on building the website’s recognition through media and public relations.

As Director of Partnerships and Customer Relations, Mr Smeeth says his responsibilities include managing existing relationships to ensure business partners get the best return on investment through their association with

He will also look to establish new long-term partnerships with local business.

Mr Smeeth has lived on the Central Coast for 25 years, is married and has a daughter.


Looking for jobs in the hunter region? Go to


Do you need staff on the Central Coast, or in Newcastle and the Hunter region, now or in the next 12 months? 

If the answer is YES, save money today with a substantial discount of 50% discount off pre-booked Featured Job Ads!

This exclusive offer is available to employers and recruitment agencies for a very limited period and will not be repeated in this financial year (before 30th June 2014).  These rates are only applicable for bookings processed by 5pm this coming Friday (9th August 2013) so please contact us now to take advantage of these amazing deals.  If you know anyone else who will be needing local staff and may wish to take advantage of this offer, please forward them this email.

We are offering you this discounted on any featured ad booking of 1-20 job ads and the ads will be valid for use for up to 12 months (until 9th August 2014).  This means the discounted prices are…

Only $43.50 per Central Coast featured job ad (down from $87.00)

Only $63.50 per Newcastle and Hunter featured job ad (down from $127.00)

To secure these fantastic value rates today or if you would like to discuss this offer further, simple send us a quick email to with your name and telephone number.  One of our friendly staff will then give you a call to chat through the options and we can process your booking if you wish to proceed… it’s really that easy!

Jobs On The Coast and Jobs In The Hunter  connect businesses and recruiters across the Central Coast and the Hunter with a large audience of skilled local people.  To provide maximum exposure, Featured Job ads are highlighted and prominently listed on the Jobs On The Coast website.  They are also promoted to our large and engaged social media audience via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

All Featured Job ads will remain live for 6 weeks/42 days (or until you fill/withdraw them) and all ads booked as part of this offer will be valid for use up to 12 months.  Booking is not confirmed until payment has been processed..  Payment can be made via direct deposit, visa, mastercard or paypal.

We always welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have so feel free to email or call our office in Erina on (02) 4365 7565. CEO Tim O’Brien has announced the merger of the two websites Jobs In the Hunter ( and Newcastle & Hunter Jobs (

All jobs will now be displayed at, where it is free to list positions vacant for up to 42 days.  Featured Job listings are also available at the modest price of $127.00, providing greater exposure and promotion to social media including Facebook and Twitter.

“This merger reinforces our commitment to promoting and securing local employment in the Hunter Region,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The site will continue its simplicity and excellent value through free job ad placements, especially for small to medium businesses who find recruiting new and replacement staff both arduous and expensive,” he said.  The site’s advertising services are available for use by all local businesses and ads from recruitment agencies regarding local job positions are also very welcome.

The Jobs In The Hunter website has shown remarkable growth since it quietly opened on the internet in August 2012 and has risen to having average of more than 350 local jobs listed at any time, with 323 new positions vacant published last month (June 2013).

“The consolidation of these two sites will undoubtedly lead to the platform being more popular with those recruiting personnel and with those looking for work or advancement,” Mr O’Brien said. is able to provide free job listings due to financial partnerships with businesses committed to the growth of local employment, including major partners Job Centre Australia and Inspire Success HR Consultants.  Jobs In The Hunter is also very grateful for logistical help and support which has been shown by other organisations including NSW Trade & Investment.

“ is currently seeking expressions of interest from local businesses who would like to partner with Jobs In The Hunter and be seen by our audience as local specialists, particularly in the following sectors – Training/Education, Recruitment Agencies, Local Banking, Commercial Law and Real Estate.”

For more details contact Tim O’Brien via email to or call 02 4910 4024.

In the last 12 months approximately 4.6% of people in Newcastle and the Hunter have found themselves unemployed amidst signs the local labour market is weakening.

This is pretty much on par with the rest of the nation, and the weaker labour market signals are said to be one of the key factors underlying recent interest rate cuts.

One could reasonably hazard a guess that the downturn in the mining industry may have contributed to Newcastle and Hunter unemployment but, falls in regional employment are actually more closely linked to the trade-exposed manufacturing industry and reflect the difficulties experienced in recent times within this sector.

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Australia is regularly recognised as being a nation of ‘hard-workers’ and we consistently rank towards the top of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) list when they compare the average annual hours worked per person across 34 developed nations.

On the whole, we’d say that the people of Newcastle and the Hunter would consider themselves hard-workers and while no such data exists (that we’re aware of) that ranks Australian cities by hours worked, here’s what we do know locally from recent Census data.

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There has always been a bit of healthy banter amongst Novocastrians and plenty of local area pride to boot. So… how do our local areas compare when it comes to education?

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A local jobs website operator predicts an online industry shake-up as companies reposition themselves in a tougher employment market. CEO Tim O’Brien’s prediction comes as news has surfaced that two national online jobs websites plan major changes; MyCareer will have free advertisements and Seek will raise its prices by 5.5 per cent from July 1.

“Neither of these moves is a substitute for high performance and innovation for both job seekers and employers,” Mr O’Brien said. “Removing financial risk may be attractive to advertisers, but, the size and general nature of large job board operators means they still miss the mark in providing relevant search results to their users.” “Free job listing is one side of the equation, but the strength of comes from an ability to connect local employers and local jobseekers, combined with the support of a strong network of ‘local specialists’ to provide additional services and support.” Mr O’Brien established almost two years ago and last year when he identified a need for online solutions with more specific emphasis on the local employment market.

Success of these sites has been based on local employers and recruiters being able to advertise vacant positions free of charge, thus removing the financial risk of out-laying money with no guarantee of results. It combines this with links on the site to contact relevant business partners that provide services to recruiters and jobseekers, including major partners: Job Centre Australia, Hunter TAFE and Inspire Success HR Consultants. “The results are highly relevant and highly valued by users,” Mr O’Brien said. The value of and is demonstrated by the support it has from local businesses, training and government agencies keen to see employment in regional Australia grow. “Collaborating with these organisations has ensured that the two sites build on a strong foundation of local expertise, supporting regional economic growth.” Mr O’Brien said signs of a slowing economy meant employers would be looking for the best and most cost-effective solutions to expand, maintain or replace skilled and experienced people.

Jobseekers looking to advance their careers, find new work or enter the workforce want to find a job near their home and chosen lifestyle. “The emergence of other options to big generalist job boards calls in to question their ongoing relevance to their users and the true value of a job advertisement remains to be seen”, he said.

For more information about or to contact us please visit

We had a fantastic response to our feedback competition – thank you to everyone who entered.

The feedback you provide is very valuable to us. Your comments show that you value the site for its local relevance and ease of use. We are constantly working to improve our offering and enhance your experience of the site, based on the feedback you provide. You will notice changes over the next couple of months.

And the winner is…

The winner drawn out of the hat and recipient of four tickets to the movies is Daniel Franks.

Thanks again to all who entered and look out for future competitions coming soon!

An insight into education levels

Every year in the USA, Forbes magazine reports on the smartest cities in America – perhaps so that those people who prefer to be around intelligent folks can plan their travel (or relocations) accordingly!

So how do us Newcastle and Hunter people find out where we need to flock to if we want to boost our grey matter?

To rank the cities Forbes looks at the percentage of people aged 25 and over who have at least a Bachelor’s Degree. The data we have at our fingertips isn’t quite that specific but, here’s what we do know about Newcastle …

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February and March were busy months at JobsInTheHunter headquarters. Site growth continues to be strong (as you will see from our stats). Connection with an ever-increasing number of people on Facebook also continues to be strong and we are finding the social media platform to be an effective and popular interactive communication tool for both employers and job seekers.

Current Job vacancies
Central Coast – 198
Hunter/Newcastle – 257

We Welcome a New Hunter Partner

We are pleased to announce that SIMFIN Financial Planning is now on board as a new Promotional Partner for the Hunter region. SIMFIN, led by Simeon Levin, is part of the Fitzpatrick Dealer Group and is regarded as a leading team of experts in financial planning and wealth management within the Hunter region. The company has a particular interest in the healthcare and medical sector (the largest employer in both the Central Coast and Hunter regions) and we look forward to their assistance and support towards connecting more regional jobseekers with local employers.

The Numbers

We are pleased to report the following comparative statistics based on Google Analytics data (comparison between February 2012 and February 2013):
Site Visits – 44.23% increase
Unique Visitors – 41.29% increase
Page views – 77.21% increase
Bounce Rate – 23.06% decrease (the goal is a decreased bounce rate) welcomed

Our presence has been strongly welcomed by the business contacts we have made so far in the Hunter region where the employment market and business community is extremely dynamic. We recently met with three significant recruitment businesses in the Hunter who each told us they see the service as a great initiative that will allow them to connect more effectively with the local workforce.

Showcasing our Regional ‘Skilled & Available’ Workforce

Following a suggestion from NSW Trade & Investment we intend to roll out a new initiative supported by the state government. The plan is to showcase specific profiles of ‘Skilled and Available’ candidates in both local regions via (Central Coast and Hunter sites). We also plan to adopt a strategy to actively promote the ‘Skilled and Available’ workforce to employers. This initiative will help to fill a gap in the existing jobs board market, which was clearly highlighted to us by the state government.

happy_balloonToday is a happy day for us, and even if you don’t realise it yet, it’s a happy day for you too!

This is our first blog post marking the start of bundles of great info we’ll be posting regularly to help connect people looking for a great new job or career opportunity and organisations who are looking to fill jobs specifically in Newcastle and the Hunter.

We are Novocastrians and proud of it. As many of us who live and work in the region will know, we’re also a tight knit bunch. Everyone knows everyone and all that jazz.

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We are pleased to announce the launch of the media centre within which can be found at… Media Centre

The media centre will include a range of video and audio, featuring events and milestones throughout the growth and development of Jobs On the Coast, plus news and information regarding the market for jobs and careers!

On Thursday 27th October 2011, over 300 people attended the 2nd of this year’s Economic Update events from the Central Coast Research Foundation, at Mingara.  Click the link below for Business Insider’s coverage of this event…

Click the link below to view a featured article about by Business Insider, video footage from the Jobs On The Coast official launch event and interviews with our main sponsors…

Thursday September 29 saw leaders of the Central Coast business community gather to celebrate the official launch of new local website and marketing campaign,, which connects Central Coast business to skilled employees for free.

Member for the Central Coast, The Hon. Chris Hartcher officially launched the new Central Coast initiative to a room of more than 80 gathered at The Reef Restaurant, Terrigal.

“With approximately 35 per cent of employed residents working outside the region and with many of the Coast’s most highly skilled workers commuting to Sydney or Newcastle for work, businesses must be confident that they can secure a skilled local workforce before relocating to the Central Coast or expanding on the Central Coast,” said Mr Hartcher.

“This website is a valuable tool that allows companies and job-seekers to develop a Central Coast specific jobs market to grow our region’s economy and provide a greater range of options to skilled workers,” he added.

The evening also introduced the website’s three major sponsors – Jobs Centre Australia, TAFE Central Coast Campuses and Inspire Success, as well as other Central Coast organisations who have jumped on board to support the website including 104.5 Star FM, The Salvation Army, Coast Shelter, Regional Development Australia – Central Coast and Central Coast Tourism.

Tim O’Brien, founder of the website, was excited to see Central Coast business leaders and local as well as state government representatives turn out to mark the official launch of what is set to become an invaluable regional asset.

“Central Coast businesses deserve a platform on which they can connect with a talented workforce and offers just that,” said Tim.

“I am grateful that so many people attended the launch to support the initiative and I hope that they can benefit from this unique new tool,” he added.

Central Coast businesses can promote job opportunities for free at There are currently over 250 job listings on the website.

The home of opportunities on the NSW Central Coast…

NBN Television feature in their news bulletin on 27th July 2011 including an interview with Tim O’Brien, Founder of…

Tim O’Brien, Founder of is interviewed by Scott Levi from ABC Central Coast Radio…

Click the link below to see the article posted on the website of Star 104.5FM today…

8.32am 1st July 2011 - 200 Central Coast Jobs live on the site, accross 29 categories already, as at this morning!

More than 100 live job opportunities… and they’re all here on the Central Coast!!!

Even before it’s official launch, I am delighted to announce that has reached two significant milestones…

There are already over 100 Central Coast job opportunities LIVE on the site
The first job offer has been made and accepted, as a direct result of an application via Jobs On The Coast!

I hope you will agree that these achievements are testament to the relevance of this initiative…  Job seekers and Employers alike are embracing the opportunity to use, with its key strength to connect local opportunities and talented candidates FOR FREE.

These exciting events demonstrate the significant role promises to play in delivering results to the Central Coast employment market.

I would like to encourage you to visit the site and please tell your friends and business connections about

Warm regards

Tim O’Brien
Founder | Jobs On The Coast