North East economy strengthening with record numbers in work

A record number of people in work and fewer people without a job are both confirmation of a strengthening regional economy, North East LEP economist Fiona Thom said today.

The LEP welcomed the latest North East labour market statistics which showed employment levels at a record high and unemployment falling both in the short and longer term.

The North East employment rate for September to November 2015 has increased from 68.2% to 69.8% in the short term, and continues to rise in the longer term.

The latest data shows that the region is closing the gap with the UK average employment rate of 74.0%, as employment levels have risen faster than the national average.

Fiona said: “It is important to be cautious when interpreting short term fluctuations in labour market data. Our focus at the LEP is continuing to help the increase in longer term employment by creating more and better jobs.

“Following last month’s short term increase in unemployment rates, we have seen a decrease over the period between September and November.

“This continues the longer term decrease in regional unemployment from 10.2% in the same period in 2013.

“Economic inactivity has also fallen in the last three months as more people move into employment, which is good news as this is a key focus of the strategic economic plan, through supporting people back into economic activity.

“Over the longer term, economic inactivity remains fairly constant but the reasons for the inactivity are changing, with an increasing proportion of people looking after family and or home and the proportion of those with ill health, which is a key challenge in the North East, slowly falling.

“This is good news for the region, with more people in work than ever before. We want to continue this and will be analysing the data closely over coming months to determine if we are beginning to see an upward longer term trend in the North East labour market.”