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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist, Victoria Sutherland, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics.

“Today’s data shows a mixed picture for the North East region, which covers the North East LEP and Tees Valley LEP areas.

“We are pleased to see that the number of people in employment has increased by 6,000 over the last three months. The North East was one of five English regions to see employment increase, with only the North West and West Midlands having larger increases.

“Whilst the number of people in employment has increased, the number participating in the labour market has grown even faster. As a result, unemployment has also increased, with 7,000 more people unemployed than last quarter. The North East continues to have the highest unemployment and economic inactivity rates in England.

“It is important that partners across the North East continue to work together to create the conditions for a stronger economy which delivers employment growth. The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to deliver the North East Strategic Economic Plan’s ambition of more and better jobs.”

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North East LEP ONS Labour Market Statistics reaction June 2019

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“It’s very disappointing to see that today’s statistics show that the number of people across the North East in employment has fallen over both the last quarter and the year. In total, there are 26,000 fewer people in work than a year ago, with the majority of those no longer in employment being women.

“There has been a particularly sharp decrease in the last three months, with 20,000 fewer people in work. We are one of five English regions that have seen a decline in employment over the last quarter.

“Both unemployment and economic inactivity have increased. There are 13,000 more people unemployed – those who are out of work and looking for a job – than a year ago, with a significant part of this increase (7,000) happening in the last three months. The unemployment rate is now 5.7%, compared to 4.6% a year ago.

“Adults that are not in work or looking for work – for example, because they are studying, looking after children or the home, unable to work due to health or disability or have retired – are referred to in the statistics as the economically inactive. The numbers of adults in the North East that are economically inactive has increased by 16,000 over the year.

“Whilst it is unclear what is underpinning these negative trends, there is significant uncertainty within the economy which is depressing investment and this is likely to be a key factor. It is critically important for the North East economy that the UK government seeks to resolve this uncertainty.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to deliver more and better jobs for the region. We are also delivering a significant programme of work to help prepare the region for Brexit-related changes.”

Home / Victoria Sutherland

Thinking global to grow the North East economy

By Victoria Sutherland, Senior Economist at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership

As an economist working at the North East LEP, one of the questions I’m asked the most is ‘how is the North East economy performing?’

On Tuesday 6 March I had the opportunity to answer that question at the launch of the ‘Our Economy 2018’ report.

More than 200 people joined me, Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP, and our panel of speakers to learn more about the current state of the North East economy and to consider how we build our global linkages.

It was a pleasure to see colleagues from across the business community, as well as government departments, local authorities and education at the launch.

We were able to share positive news about the North East economy and update on the good progress that has been made against the Strategic Economic Plan targets. A key highlight is that the number of jobs in the North East has increased by 55,200 since 2014, putting us on track to meet our target of 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

We are also particularly pleased that the employment rate and economic activity rate have increased – meaning residents are benefiting from the additional job opportunities – and that the gap with England excluding London on these measures has reduced.

The event focused on the North East’s role in the global economy and the importance of international connections. We had the pleasure of hearing from guest speaker Jason Knights, managing director of brand creative agency Blue Kangaroo, about his organisation’s international links and how thinking global has seen his company flourish.

Blue Kangaroo now work with some of the biggest brands in the world, including The Walt Disney Company and Mattel, all from its base in Gateshead.

Our panel discussion saw contributions from Marian Sudbury, Director, Global Operations for the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for International Trade and Professor Nick Wright, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Business at Newcastle University.

We learnt more about the support and advice on offer to North East businesses looking to export and how our region’s universities have built their global connections and welcomed over 17,000 international students to the North East last year.

The North East’s excellent air and sea connectivity was highlighted as being critical for supporting our global connections. In 2016, the North East’s ports handled 5.7m tonnes of freight and Newcastle Airport handled 4.8 million passengers, 76% travelling between Newcastle and international destinations.

A questions and answer session followed with some fantastic debate around the findings in the report and a call to action by Andrew Hodgson for North East businesses to be proud of their achievements and to champion the region on the international stage.

To coincide with the publication of the ‘Our Economy’ report, the North East LEP, in partnership with the North East Combined Authority, has launched the North East Data Hub. This is a digital platform that gathers data from across the region on the economy and transport and allows users to download and compare data in a simple, user-friendly way.

To find out more information about the North East Data Hub, visit www.northeastdatahub.co.uk and for more information about ‘Our Economy 2018’ and to read the report in full, visit www.nelep.co.uk/oureconomy.