A project in Salem, he added, will be able to take advantage of the “multiplier effect” of attractions such as the Peabody Essex Museum, which itself is planning an expansion, and projects such as the new courthouse on Federal Street.
“Our feeling is Salem is the downtown of the North Shore,” Steinbergh said.
Even the North Shore Chamber of Commerce is busier. Vice President Erik Smith said attendance at events has grown at a 15 percent clip, showing there is less uncertainty and more confidence in the business community.
The chamber’s upcoming business expo on March 5 is another marker. Last year at this time, the chamber had booked 55 booths. This year, 80 booths are already spoken for, and just 20 are left.
At Cranney Companies, a heating and plumbing company, business began to pick up in the second quarter of 2012, with increased activity and existing customers “coming back to the table,” said Brian Cranney.
“The phones are a lot more active,” he said. “I would say we are seeing it more on the commercial side. The residential is lagging, but it’s better than it’s been.”
Cranney is also hiring, having added about eight employees, including some who handle customer service and office support, as well as plumbers, electricians and students from vocational schools working on co-op.
R&L Associates handles temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent placements, and “we are really on track to have our best year since the recession,” said Dichner.
Not only is the company placing more people in jobs, “we have plans to expand and increase internal head count,” she said. While she did not want to discuss numbers, she said growth has been “significant.”
R&L has been busy placing people in areas such as administrative work, light industry manufacturing, manufacturing support, receptionist positions, assembly work, computer assembly work and electronics. Some companies that are hiring have a national base, but not all.
“The exciting thing is we are seeing local companies hiring and expanding, too,” Dichner said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.