The North East Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) sets out six economic targets for the region. We measure progress against these on a regular basis. Progress towards these targets are below.
We are working with partners to develop a more competitive economy for the North East, helping to create more and better jobs for everyone.
Progress: The most recent data (to December 2017) showed that that the number of jobs in the North East had increased by 59,400 since 2014.
Better jobs are defined as managers, directors and senior officials; professional occupations (such as civil engineers and doctors); and associate professional and technical occupations (such as laboratory technicians and graphic designers).
Progress: Of the 59,400 additional jobs since 2014, 79% – or 47,000 – are ‘better jobs’.
The next four targets are all relative targets – where the aim is to reduce the gap in the North East’s performance against a better performing area. As the North East is a region within England, England would be the most obvious benchmark to choose. However, as London plays a disproportionate role in English performance and has a different structure to the rest of the English economy, ‘England excluding London’ has been chosen instead as the benchmark.
There are fewer private sector jobs per head (16-64 population) in the North East than in England excluding London and the target is to reduce this gap by 50% by 2024.
Between 2014 and 2015, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had reduced by 16%. In 2016, the businesses included in the dataset that is used to calculate this measure were broadened. Unfortunately, this means there is a discontinuity in the available data to measure this SEP target indicator. The North East LEP will continue to measure against this target using the revised dataset, using 2015 as the baseline year.
Progress: Between 2015 and 2016, the gap had widened on this measure. This reflects a small increase in private sector employment per head across England excluding London, whilst the rate remained stable in the North East LEP area.
It is important that North East residents are benefiting from the additional jobs created. If this was happening, we would see the proportion of people in the North East LEP area with a job increasing. This is known as the employment rate and the employment rate is lower in the North East LEP area than in England excluding London.
Progress: By December 2017, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had reduced by 23%.
The economic activity rate measures the proportion of people aged 16-64 who are actively participating in the labour market, including both those employed and those out-of-work but actively seeking a job. It provides a wider measure of what is happening in the labour market. Again, the economic activity rate is lower in the North East LEP area than in England excluding London.
Progress: By December 2017, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had reduced by 21%.
Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or region in the United Kingdom. GVA per full-time equivalent (FTE) job is a way of measuring the productivity. Again, the GVA per FTE is lower in the North East LEP area than in England excluding London.
Progress: Between 2014 and 2015, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had increased by 9%.
However, there has been a discontinuity in the data that underpins the FTE element of this measure. Changes have also been made to regional GVA data (with a new balanced GVA figure published for the first time in December 2017) and there is a case that it would be more appropriate to use a GVA per worker or GVA per hour figure as an alternative. As a result, this target is being reviewed by the North East LEP, in consultation with partners. Once the revised target is agreed, data will be provided on this page.
The first version of the Strategic Economic Plan was published in April 2014. It followed on from the North East Independent Economic Review and set out a high level vision for the economy and included investment programmes for Local Growth Fund and European funds which were available at that time.
The SEP was refreshed during 2016 and launched in March 2017 following an extensive consultation involving businesses and economic partners. The refresh process enabled the region to reflect on new economic data following the end of the recession and the changing economic policy environment including the decision to leave the European Union.