It is worth studying the stats and reaction to the employment numbers announced late last week - they are genuinely good news for the North East and show that the economy is heading in the right direction.
• Employment in the North East stands at 1,206,000 – a rise of 31,000 over the quarter and 40,000 over the year.
• North East unemployment stands at 124,000 – a decrease of 10,000 over the quarter and 7,000 over the year.
• The claimant count stands at 68,400 or 5.5% in the North East (down 1,600), compared to 3.4% nationally.
Don't take my word for it: the North East Chamber of Commerce described how the jobs figures "in the North East are continuing to improve and the annual rise in the employment figure is particularly eye catching. Across all measures the North East jobs market is improving in health and while we still need to catch up with other regions we shouldn't look past the real progress that is being made."
They added that
"Businesses in the North East are in bullish mood, particularly in the manufacturing sector, which is great news. However, the rise in employment does not come without challenges, not least of all the fact that good staff will be in shorter supply and this in turn will place pressures upon wage costs. Evidence of this is already coming through our Quarterly Economic Survey and the challenge now is to ensure that it does not place a brake upon future growth."
Fuller details in the Journal which reported the Jobs Minister's visit here last week: