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North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist, Victoria Sutherland, gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“4,000 more people in the North East are in employment than three months ago. This is a positive result for the region and recent increases in employment have largely offset the declines we saw in early 2018.

“Looking at the data in more detail, there has been particularly strong growth in employment amongst younger age groups.

“Disappointingly, today’s labour market statistics also show unemployment has increased by 6,000 over the quarter, and by 2,000 over the year. A number of other regions have seen a similar increase.

“With both employment and unemployment increasing over the quarter, there are fewer people economically inactive; a broad group that includes those who are outside the labour market because they are in education, have health issues or disabilities that prevent them from work, have caring responsibilities, or have retired. However, there has been growth in the numbers aged 50 and over that are inactive.

“As previously noted, there has been a high degree of fluctuation in the North East’s labour market performance over the last 12 months. Considerable uncertainty in the national economy is one of the factors contributing to this fluctuation, with data showing that across the UK, there have been three consecutive quarter-on-quarter declines in business investment. It is 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 has addressed these issues through its updated Strategic Economic Plan, which was published last week (Thursday 14 February). It recognises the economic and political changes that have influenced our regional economy and how we can respond to them in a positive way to deliver more and better jobs for the North East.”

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