Industry and employment

More than 90,000 people are employed in the Central Coast region, representing about 9% of Regional New South Wales total employment.

The Central Coast experienced above average employment growth (4.7% compared to 4.1% in Regional NSW) between 2006 and 2011.

In 2011, around 78% of people were employed in services related sectors (the same as metropolitan Sydney). Projected population growth is likely to see these sectors continuing to grow.

Full-time equivalent work (FTE) grew by 3.4% from 2006 to 2011, a stronger performance than for Regional NSW as a whole at 2.2%, but slower than metropolitan Sydney which grew by 4.7%.

.Factory worker

In 2006 there were fewer people working full-time equivalent hours in the region than there were identified local jobs, as around a third of jobs are part time.

Retail trade contributed over $600 million to the Central Coast economy in 2011 and employed over 13,500 people. Since 2011, GRP produced by the retail sector has grown at a high 7.8% compound annual rate, reaching over $700 million in 2013.

From 2011 to 2013, smaller niche service sectors – such as Financial and Insurance Services, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Rental, Hiring and Real Estate and Arts and Recreation Services – all had relatively high GRP (6.8% and 8.3% compound growth). Collectively, they contributed over $1 billion to GRP in 2013. Manufacturing contributes over $1 billion to the region's gross product. The Central Coast is a food and beverage product manufacturing hub, accounting for 25% of employment in the manufacturing industry. It is home to household brands such as Sanitarium, Ingham's Foods, McCain and Masterfoods.

The Central Coast is also a strategic location for logistics, with access to Sydney and Newcastle via the Pacific Highway and Motorway, and to Brisbane, Melbourne and beyond. Distribution and logistics centres, such as Alliance Distribution Services, Toll and Woolworths, are located in the region. Unemployment in the region dropped between 2006 and 2011. However, overall unemployment in 2011 was higher than the average in Regional NSW – 6.9% compared with 6.2%. Youth unemployment was also higher – 14.9% compared with the Regional NSW average of 13.2%.