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The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP) Strategy and Policy Director, Richard Baker, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“From the range of labour market data released today, combined with last week’s GDP data, we can see that the economy remains very fragile and that ongoing intervention continues to support employment and promote stimulus.

“Whilst the official level of unemployment in the North East region in May to July remains unchanged compared to the previous quarter, the ONS out-work benefit claimant count shows that the number of claimants in the North East LEP area increased by over 36,000 between mid-March and mid-August, about 7.3% of the working age population

“From UK data about hours worked and last week’s GDP data we can see that there has been some slow growth through July, however, GDP in July remains 11.7% lower than in February.

“Looking forward, national data suggests that about 16% of employees were still furloughed in August.

“We expect next month’s data will give us a clearer indication of how the economy is performing after the summer stimulus package and as the Job Retention Scheme winds down. However, it is clear this is going to be a stop-start recovery with the economy needing ongoing government and regional support.

“The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), CBI, North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities have come together, with the support of industry, to form the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group. We have supported the North East economy through the immediate impact of the response to COVID-19 and we are working to develop a comprehensive investment plan for the North East to ensure our region comes back stronger, greener and more inclusive than ever.”

The North East Growth Hub is working hard to ensure businesses have access to all the latest information, guidance and support regarding Covid-19. This can be viewed here: https://www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk/toolkits/covid-19-coronavirus-toolkit

ENDS

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Lucy Winskell