The impacts of the COVID pandemic on the region's economy have varied, a council report says.
Some businesses have felt the full force of lockdowns and the subsequent economic impact, while others have found opportunity.
"The economy's diversity however, coupled with state and Commonwealth supports and council's own relief projects and hardship support measures, should be acknowledged for the role played in economic performance during the pandemic period to date," the report said.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council put coronavirus relief measures in place for businesses and residents in April 2020.
It again adopted financial relief measures in September 2021.
Community leaders from all areas of government, industry, the education sector, business and social services joined a COVID-19 Recovery Working Group in 2020 to map a way forward.
Then COVID-19 recovery and stimulus projects were adopted in August 2020 to help the area recover from the health pandemic.
A report to the council's November meeting analysed the pandemic's economic impact, recognised vulnerable industries and examined the local workforce and business community.
The council noted the broad-based impacts of COVID-19 on the local economy and acknowledged a continued focus will be required from council and other levels of government to support recovery.
The business count in the local government area remained positive during the pandemic, the report said.
Construction and health and social services have shown the strongest growth in new business counts.
The report said the region performed relatively well against the shocks of the pandemic, particularly in light of the preceding bushfire impacts and devastating flood that punctuated the recovery efforts of many businesses this year.
Encouraging phases of recovery and growth during 2020 to mid-2021 served to support the broader economy through the border closures and protracted lockdowns experienced in the second half of this year, the report said.
Overall, there has been a small degree of growth across key indicators since the pandemic first impacted the region in March 2020.
The report said vulnerable sectors such as tourism, retail and hospitality, however, were showing impacts in the September quarter and remained likely to have weak results up until the December roadmap milestone when all intrastate travel restrictions lift.
Public health-driven lockdowns and social distancing policies had the greatest impact on sectors that relied on international/domestic travel, footfall traffic and face to face/physical service settings, the report said.
Figures show 13.75 per cent of Port Macquarie-Hastings businesses are in these most vulnerable industries - accommodation and food services (809 businesses), arts and recreation services (831), retail (1532) and personal services including hair and beauty services (506).
"The June quarter 2021 showed positive improvement for North Coast accommodation operators compared to the same quarter in 2020, however North Coast destination survey results (September 2021) indicate this recovery has been challenged by the lockdowns, border closures and travel restrictions activated in late June 2021," the report said.
The JobKeeper Payment scheme had been widely credited with retaining workforces in most sectors, the report said.
Figures showed at its peak, about 45 per cent of all Port Macquarie-Hastings businesses applied for the subsidy.
Local application rates hovered at about 12 per cent a month in the final three months of the scheme.
"Local unemployment and JobSeeker/youth allowance recipient rates in the Port Macquarie-Hastings LGA indicate the expected aggregate impact on unemployment that was predicted once the JobKeeper scheme was withdrawn on 28 March, 2021 did largely not occur," the report said.
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