North East LEP Chief Economist Chris Milne has welcomed the latest Labour Market Statistics which show regional employment close to record levels and falling labour market inactivity.
The employment rate is up 0.5 percentage points on the same period last year standing at 70.3% which is close to the highest rate on record with more than 1.2m people now in work in the North East.
Labour market inactivity is down 0.5 percentage points on the previous quarter to 23.6% while unemployment, at 8.1%, remains at a similar level to that seen during the course of the past year.
The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance stands at the lowest level on record, down by more than 5,000 people over the past 12 months.
“This is further positive news following some great statistics over the past few months,” said Chris.
“The challenge now is to push on and continue to reduce inactivity and unemployment. The unemployment rate has flattened at around 8%.
“There remain significant challenges around labour market inactivity and employment, but as the rest of the country has seen steady growth of employment rates, the North East has narrowed the gap with the English average employment rate in each of the last three quarters.
“Service sector and manufacturing jobs appear to have underpinned new job growth.”