Industry and employment
More than 66,000 people are employed in the New England-North West region, representing 7% of the Regional New South Wales total.
Employment in the New England-North West region remained relatively steady between 2006 and 2011 with around 1% growth (as compared with 4% in Regional NSW). The agriculture sector is the region's largest industry, with a 15% share of both regional output and employment. Output grew around 4% each year between 2006 and 2013. However, this was not matched by employment growth, likely reflecting the increasing mechanisation of the sector.
Allied industries complement the primary production base in the New England- North West, which is home to one of the State's largest food processing sectors.
In recent years, this sector has seen some consolidation and now has fewer, but larger operators. The sector also has strong links with the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry, which is developing new applications for international livestock genetics and other technologies for more efficient farming practices. The services sector accounts for almost two thirds of employment and almost half of the output in the region. The Education and Training sector – anchored by the University of New England, New England Institute of TAFE and aviation training facilities – is the second largest industry in the region, contributing around 8% to GRP.
Similar to other regional areas, Health Care and Social Assistance is one of the largest sectors, with increased demand from a growing and ageing population likely to drive continued growth in this sector. The region's visitor economy contributes around $740 million (or 8%) to its GRP, supporting a range of industries including the Accommodation and Food Services and allied Retail Trade sectors. Thanks to internationally recognised events, such as the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the region welcomes around 2.8 million visitors each year who stay for over 4.4 million nights.