NORTH East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) response to today’s labor market estimates.
· Employment in the North East stands at 1,151,000 or 69.7% – a rise of 12,000 over the quarter and increase of 33,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 73% nationally.
· North East unemployment stands at 109,000 or 8.7% – a fall of 9,000 over the quarter and 20,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 6% nationally.
· The claimant count stands at 52,000 or 4.3% in the North East, compared to 2.6% nationally.
NECC Policy and Research Manager, Mark Stephenson, said: “Today’s figures are a great start to the year with every indicator heading in the right direction and over 30,000 more people in work than this time last year.
“Employment is at a record high for the second successive month thanks mostly to businesses while unemployment is at its lowest in over five years – down 20,000 on a year ago. The claimant count continues its long term decrease and is down over 20,000 on the year, back to its pre-financial crisis level of 2008.
“While the North East unemployment rate remains too high, moving below 9% represents a symbolic victory. In spite of the economic progress we have seen in the past two years, North East unemployment has remained largely static, so to see it falling is very encouraging. The unemployment rate dropped as fast as anywhere in the country while the increase in employment was bettered only by one other region.
“The North East business community has made the majority of this progress possible in the context of continuing retrenchment in the public sector, which just goes to underline the necessity for pro-business public policy placing a premium on development, investment, employment and growth. Ahead of a forthcoming budget and general election it is vital that political parties understand and safeguard the role that businesses play for the well-being of our country.”