The Illawarra regions of Shellharbour, Shoalhaven and Kiama combined have the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 15.3%, the Australia Bureau of Statistics said.
This is 178% higher than the national average of 5.5%. If Wollongong is included, the average figure is 10.2%, 85% higher than the national average.
The decline in manufacturing has hit the region hard. In 2011, Bluescope announced it would sack 700 workers at its Port Kembla steelworkers. In response to those sackings, Patrick Stevedoring announced the next month that it was sacking 160 wharf workers at Port Kembla.