The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has published two new reports, one, an annual state of the region report and the other exploring the impact of COVID-19 and EU Exit on the North East economy.
The LEP’s annual Our Economy report has been published in two parts in 2021. The first report tracks the long term performance of the North East LEP economy across a range of key economic indicators and provides an overview of how it is changing over time.
It also includes an update on progress towards the North East LEP’s aim of bringing 100,000 more and better jobs to the region by 2024, and analysis of the impact of emerging policy priorities, like levelling up and decarbonisation, on the North East.
The second report provides a comprehensive and in-depth look at the national and regional data, research, insights and commentary that shows how COVID-19 and EU exit has impacted the regional economy. Drawing on a range of additional and innovative sources of data, ‘Our Economy: Insights into the impact of COVID-19 and EU transition on the North East Economy’ gathers intelligence on the impacts of the pandemic and EU exit on the North East economy from March 2020 to the current day.
Lucy Winskell OBE, Chair of the North East LEP, said: “This year, perhaps more than any other, developing our shared understanding of change in the regional economy is crucial.
“The work we have done to track, analyse and interpret data and evidence about the performance of our regional economy is central to our role at the North East LEP and a core part of the support we offer our partners.
“It is integral to our economic leadership, our influencing work with government, and underpins our investment decisions and stewardship of public funds, ensuring that regional programmes of delivery are targeted at addressing the key opportunities and challenges we face.”
The reports state that whilst the short-term impact of COVID-19 on the North East was highly disruptive and challenging, the region has continued to sustain increased levels of employment compared with its baseline in 2014, with continued growth of the proportion of better jobs – managers, directors and senior officials; professional occupations; and associate professional and technical occupations – in the region.
They also show the impact of COVID-19 on business and the labour market has been significant. Some sectors, including retail, culture and hospitality, have seen severe changes. Local, regional and national intervention has had an impact in protecting businesses and jobs, but the impact now many of these support measures have ended is unclear.
Inequalities within the region have been exacerbated by the pandemic too, with employers in many industries struggling with skills shortages.
The reports also include data showing that the region’s engagement with the global economy is changing, with the impact of EU Exit creating barriers to trade and the future trading environment still evolving.
Our Economy 2021 also looks at the performance of our programmes and sectors – which have been identified as areas of opportunity for the region, including health and life sciences, digital and energy.
Richard Baker, Strategy and Policy Director at the North East LEP explained: “The economic shock has accelerated a number of opportunities for the North East, with growth and new jobs in some of the key areas of strength and opportunity we have been focused on – in energy, life sciences and digital industries for example.
“Many firms across the economy have changed their operational models, with rapid deployment of digital technology, changing approaches to delivery of goods and services locally and growth in online exporting. There are genuine opportunities for the region to drive forward greener businesses and to drive productivity.”
The evidence provided by Our Economy is used to inform the work of the North East LEP and partners across the region in delivering the North East Strategic Economic Plan – the roadmap for increasing economic growth in the North East.
Our Economy 2021 is available to view on evidencehub.northeastlep.co.uk.
Our Economy: Insights into the impact of COVID-19 and EU transition on the North East Economy is also available to view on evidencehub.northeastlep.co.uk.
The North East Strategic Economic Plan can be read at northeastlep.co.uk.