Monthly report – April 2019

April 2, 2019

Region’s business community react to latest ONS Labour Market Statistics, which show positive news for the North East

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest overview of the UK labour market on March 19.

The research indicates that the percentage of people in work has never been higher and the percentage of those out of work has not been lower since 1975. Regionally, the labour market statistics showed strong growth in North East employment.

From November 2018 to January 2019, employment for those aged 16 to 64 in the North East stood at 1,188,000 or 72.5 per cent. This represents an increase of 15,000 over the quarter and 3000 over the year. It compares to a national rate of 76.1 per cent.

North East unemployment stands at 63,000 or 5.0 per cent – a decrease of 8000 over the quarter and 2000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 3.9 per cent nationally.

The research shows that the North East no longer has the highest rate of unemployment nationally, with the decrease over the previous quarter moving the region ahead of Yorkshire and the Humber. However, the North East still lags behind the national averages with the lowest employment rate of the English regions.

Victoria Sutherland, senior economist at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “We are pleased to see the statistics have positive news for the North East.

“The statistics are particularly welcome as they suggest that the increases in unemployment and decreases in employment we saw in mid-2018 are being reversed.

“While these are positive results, there continues to be significant uncertainty in the economy making planning for the future challenging for businesses.”

Arlen Pettitt, knowledge development manager at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “Overall, these figures are good news for the region, with both employment and unemployment moving in the right direction. But as the UK as a whole hits unemployment lows not seen since the 1970s, the North East still has work to do to narrow the gap. It’s also worth noting that these figures only cover the period to January 2019 and it could be we are yet to feel the worst of the Brexit uncertainty, as Chamber members have told us of delayed investment decisions while they wait for a clear outcome.”

Meanwhile, Jacqueline Gallazzi-Ritchie, director at the All England Gas Services based in Stockton, which provides Boiler Cover, boiler responsive repairs and maintenance and boilers on finance to customers throughout the UK, said: “These employment figures reflect our own experience. Our business is doing well with new contracts online and throughout the country with increased levels of work for housing associations. As a result, we are planning to recruit two middle-managers to support our growth plans which will allow Paul and I to focus more on our business strategy. This potential for expansion is built on our firm commitment to great customer service.”

ONS
More information, data and analysis about the UK labour market can be found at: www.ons.gov.uk

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