From steel suppliers to accommodation to consumer/retail, business is buoyant, and confidence in the Port Macquarie-Hastings is growing.
And that puts local businesses on par with the latest business conditions survey conducted by the state's peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.
Regional manager Kellon Beard said the index measures respondents' perceptions of the economy. That measure rose to 21.8 points across the state. "Almost doubling the results of the previous quarter," Mr Beard said.
“The perceived strength of the state’s economy is the key driver behind business growth and investment but cost pressures remain a drain.
“Across the state, particularly strong results were recorded for both the capital spending and staffing indices indicating NSW businesses are expanding at a healthy pace and are optimistic about the future.
“The capital spending index rose to a record high 11.2 points, jumping 5.5 points from the September quarter across the state with the construction and manufacturing industries recording the highest capital spending.
There has been particular growth in these areas across the Mid-North Coast."
Co-owner of Bennetts Steel at Wauchope Shiree Bennett said the building industry 'has gone crazy'.
"All specs of our business are up," she said. "This is possibly the strongest start to a calendar year since I have been here. We are extremely happy."
Ms Bennett said that positivity would 'definitely mean the business will be employing more people'.
In the past financial year Hastings Co-op had expanded to a family of 15 businesses, grown its workforce to more than 300 and recorded a net profit after tax of over $1.2 million.Craig Robinson
The Hastings Co-operative Ltd financial controller Craig Robinson said the business’s future looked bright.
"In the past financial year Hastings Co-op had expanded to a family of 15 businesses, grown its workforce to more than 300 and recorded a net profit after tax of over $1.2 million," he said.
“We’re also excited about entering the café segment, the growth rate of our Bago Bluff condiment range, expansion of Port Macquarie Department Store and the imminent construction of a full IGA supermarket, hardware and liquor store in the new Sovereign Hills Town Centre, which will create around 100 new jobs.
“The current retail environment is extraordinarily competitive, and we have experienced tighter margins in the fuel and supermarket divisions, but we remain confident in the region’s growth and Hastings Co-op’s ability to adapt and exceed the changing needs of our members and customers," he said.
Macquarie Waters Boutique Apartment Hotel manager Judy Davis was another business riding a buoyant economy.
"Things are quite positive. The mood is extremely good and we are continually growing our business. I feel the town is progressing. "Overall, tourism has a very steady good in the marketplace," she said.
Mrs Davis said Macquarie Waters had employed more staff, and was particularly proud of its willingness to employ younger people.
"We like to assist young people in their education and their growth within the community," she added.
Mr Beard said the staffing index remained above trend with respondents in the food services, accommodation, manufacturing and finance sectors recording the largest increase in staffing levels.
However, he said, governments need to recognise the impact high energy prices are having on businesses and the long-term implications on the state’s economic performance.
"In the short term governments should be implementing a package of measures to increase supply and ease cost pressures," he added.