THERE is an aroma of optimism at Renny's Cafe.
As owner Sharelle Steinback brews up another flat white she knows location is the key to the success of her East Street operation in the Rockhampton CBD.
"It's been better lately, we get a lot of walk-in trade from people who work in the area," Sharelle said yesterday.
"We've had some up and downs but I think because I also have my corporate catering business as well, it keeps us fairly busy."
As she looks forward to the next quarter, it appears her business is bucking a regional trend of a trading slowdown.
The Capricornia Business Dashboard shows that 64% of businesses have reported a slowdown in their own activity in the past 12 months.
About 47% felt that this slowdown was also being experienced across the local economy.
Whilst the data showed that many businesses have been facing challenging times within the past year, there were also strong indications that local businesses are prepared to think and act innovatively in order to ride out the current cycle and grow into new areas.
RDAFCW CEO Rees Banks said the latest unemployment figures show Rockhampton sitting at the highest compared to its regional counterparts.
Mr Banks said there were a number of reasons for the spike, including the GFC and in more recent times, FIFO policies.
"There was a lot of private investment in the area to try and bring that figure down but ours has risen in the opposite direction," he said.
"We also find that the policy of some mines, only employing people from the South East corner and Cairns for fly-in-fly-out workers."
The study was conducted in partnership with the Queensland Government, Capricornia Chamber of Commerce, and Regional Development Australia Fitzroy and Central West (RDAFCW) - to engage with CQUniversity to run a data collection phase of the 'Capricornia Business Dashboard'.
Percentage of the unemployment rates for December quarters in regional centres:
- Rockhampton 8%
- Mackay 4.9%
- Cairns 7.1%
- Townsville 5.4%