Employment in the North East of England increased by 40,000 in the last quarter compared to the same time last year, meaning the region now has a record 1.2 million people in work.
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for December 2013 to February 2014 have been welcomed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership as evidence that the private sector is growing rapidly and creating new jobs at record levels.
These data follow a 25,000 jump in regional employment for the quarter November 2013-January 2014 compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
The ONS data refers to the North East region as a whole. An estimated three-quarters of the new employment, or 30,000 jobs, are in the North East LEP area of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.
North East LEP chief economist, Mauricio Armellini said: “This confirms the trend we observed in the previous quarter’s data. To give a sense of scale, one of the biggest success stories in the North East is Nissan which employs 6,000-7,000 people directly. So 40,000 new jobs is an increase in employment equivalent to six Nissans in a year, which is pretty impressive in any context.
“With 900,000 people now in employment in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area we’re in a strong position to reach our vision of one million people in employment by 2024. We must ensure that these jobs are inclusive and reach all communities, but equally that they are the better jobs we need to keep productivity growth high and maintain our competitiveness.”
‘More and Better Jobs’, the recently published North East LEP Strategic Economic Plan, builds on many of the recommendations put forward last year by Lord Andrew Adonis in his Economic Review and includes closing the employment rate gap between the LEP area and the rest of the UK.
It also aims to halve the gap between the region and the national average (excluding London) on the key economic indicators of gross value added (GVA) per full time equivalent, private sector employment density, and activity rate.
This week’s positive employment figures follow recent ONS data that showed the North East’s labour productivity is growing at the fastest rate in the UK, using both the GVA measure and hours worked, and the alternative GVA/job filled indicator.
This more comprehensive economic measure shows people and businesses in the North East LEP area are winning the competition with the rest of the country to produce more valuable goods and services for each hour worked. To achieve this whilst also enjoying significant jobs growth is a sign of a real competitive edge.
Paul Woolston, chair of the North East LEP, said: “The new employment data, coming on top of the positive productivity figures, shows a sustained upwards curve in the region’s economy.
“The 40,000 increase in employment in the last quarter compared to last year’s figures is excellent news, and proves that our ambitious job creation aims contained in the strategic plan are both realistic and achievable over the next decade.”