May 10, 2019 @ 13:48 by Richard Dawson
Despite significant uncertainty, “the North East economy has continued to grow, with improvements in both the employment rate and productivity” says the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) in its second ‘Our Economy’ report writes Chris Dobson.
Using a range of indicators to give a clearer picture of how the region is performing, Victoria Sutherland, senior economist at the NELEP said: “We’ve looked at important factors like how many businesses there are in the North East and whether they are growing, innovating and exporting. We’ve also looked at how many jobs there are in the North East, how many of our residents are in work and the levels of investment into the region.”
She added: “By understanding what the statistics tell us about our economy, we can focus our efforts on the most important issues and identify the activities that will help achieve the ambition set out in the Strategic Economic Plan to create 100,000 more and better jobs.”
The report shows the gap between the North East and England* has narrowed since the Strategic Economic Plan was launched in 2014.
Specifically good progress is being made across a wide range of indicators, with almost two-thirds showing improvements since 2014 and with the North East having closed the gap with England* on roughly a third of the indicators over the same time period.
Key areas of progress since 2014 include increases in the number of businesses that are scaling up, R&D expenditure and access to superfast broadband and decreases in unemployment and in employers reporting skills gaps.
Despite significant progress, the North East continues to underperform England* on many measures especially in relation to the size and dynamism of the business base and also innovation.
Other issues include the ageing of the population and a decline in the use of public transport.
Andrew Hodgson, chair of the North East LEP said: “Given the political and economic uncertainty we’ve experienced in the last few months, it’s more important than ever we continue to review the performance of the North East economy.
“The data in Our Economy 2019 shows we can have confidence in our approach, but it also identifies the areas, as a region, we need to address, for example, low levels of innovation. This kind of detailed analysis is vital as we continue to develop the North East Local Industrial Strategy in partnership with government.”