The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) senior economist has welcomed news of improved employment rates in the region.
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that employment in the North East increased by 17,000 during the last three months.
Reacting to the announcement, LEP economist Victoria Sutherland said the data is “particularly encouraging” as the number of people employed in the North East dipped earlier this year.
She said: “We are pleased to see that employment in the North East has increased. However, the unemployment rate has also increased from 4.4% to 5.5% over the last three months.
“Whilst this is disappointing, the unemployment rate still remains lower than it was this time last year, when it was 5.9%.”
ONS’ latest regional labour market statistics also show that the North East has seen a decline of 31,000, over the last quarter, in the number of people classed as outside of the labour market.
Victoria explained: “People can be outside of the labour market for a number of reasons, including full-time study, looking after family or home, disability, ill-health and retirement.”
Fluctuations in the North East’s labour market performance seen throughout the year, she said, were driven by “considerable uncertainty” in the national economy, which was also reflected in professional services firm EY’s latest Regional Economic Forecast report.
According to EY, the North East is the region with the lowest forecast growth to 2021. Its GVA (gross value added) is expected to rise just 1.1% in the next three years, against a national average of 1.7%.
Victoria continued: “It is critically important for the North East that we move to a period of greater certainty so that businesses are able to plan and grow.
“The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners throughout 2019 to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan’s ambition of creating 100,000 more jobs for the region between 2014 and 2024, with at least 70% of these being in managerial, professional and technical roles.”
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