Tees Valley has seen a significant rise in new business registrations.
And 500 of the 3,400 new additions to the economic scene were in the Hartlepool area.
The encouraging news comes from the local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited which has released its latest economic briefing.
Its report says: “Looking back over 2015 and in terms of private sector business growth, the past 12 months has seen a significant rise in the number of Tees Valley businesses registered at Companies House.
“Over 3,400 new businesses registered during 2015 with new companies setting up across all districts.
“Redcar & Cleveland and Hartlepool each saw around 500 new registrations, Darlington added almost 600, Middlesbrough more than 800 and Stockton saw around 1,000 new company registrations over the year.”
It means that almost 18,800 active businesses are now registered in the Tees Valley.
But even more good news is that recruitment levels are picking up in the area.
The report told how the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey - looking forward over the first quarter of this year - was predicting “a significant pick up in hiring intentions across the region” compared to the last quarter of 2015.
Sectors which show the most likelihood of taking on extra staff were finance and business services, and logistics firms.
Construction firms are the least positive and expect to modestly reduce staffing levels in the coming months.
The latest briefing from Tees Valley Unlimited, whose managing director is Stephen Catchpole, also looked back on the area’s performance during December, and showed it was a relatively quiet month for job gains and losses.
They included butcher and wholesale food firm Country Valley Foods which is set to move into a new £2m facility next to its current Leeholme Road Industrial Estate facility in Billingham.
Four staff have already been taken on and the firm is looking to create 20 production and sales roles within three to four months.
They are also planning up to 40 new jobs over the next 12 months.
There are also signs that economic output is increasing.
In 2014, it totalled £12.34bn in the Tees valley compared to £11.78bn in 2013. That’s an annual increase of £564m or 4.8%.
TVU officials say the rate of increase was significantly higher than in previous recent years and was also above both regional and national gross value added rate rises in 2014.