What do we want to achieve and how are we doing?
What are the targets?
The North East Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) sets out six economic targets for the region. We measure progress against these on a regular basis. Progress towards these targets is shown below and in our most recent Progress Review.
Target: Increase the number of jobs by 100,000 by 2024
We are working with partners to develop a more competitive economy for the North East, helping to create more and better jobs for everyone.
Progress: The most recent data (to September 2020) showed that that the number of jobs in the North East had increased by 69,500 since 2014.
Target: 70% of all jobs created from 2014 will be better jobs
Better jobs are defined as managers, directors and senior officials; professional occupations (such as civil engineers and doctors); and associate professional and technical occupations (such as laboratory technicians and graphic designers).
Progress: The addition of 69,500 jobs since 2014 has been driven by growth in the number of ‘better jobs’ of 78,800 (113% of the total net change, as at September 2020).
The next four targets are all relative targets – where the aim is to reduce the gap in the North East’s performance against a better performing area. As the North East is a region within England, England would be the most obvious benchmark to choose. However, as London plays a disproportionate role in English performance and has a different structure to the rest of the English economy, ‘England excluding London’ has been chosen instead as the benchmark.
Target: Reduce the gap in private sector employment density by 50% by 2024
There are fewer private sector jobs per head (16-64 population) in the North East than in England excluding London and the target is to reduce this gap by 50% by 2024.
Between 2014 and 2015, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had reduced by 16%. However, the businesses included in the dataset that is used to calculate this measure have subsequently been broadened. Unfortunately, this means there is a discontinuity in the available data to measure this SEP target indicator. The North East LEP will continue to measure against this target using the revised dataset, using 2015 as the baseline year.
Progress: Between 2015 and 2019, the gap had widened on this measure by 14%. Although private sector employment in the North East LEP area had grown by 1.9% in this period, the rate of growth had been faster across England excluding London.
Target: Close the gap in the employment rate for people aged 16-64 by 100% by 2024
It is important that North East residents are benefiting from the additional jobs created. If this was happening, we would see the proportion of people in the North East LEP area with a job increasing. This is known as the employment rate and the employment rate is lower in the North East LEP area than in England excluding London.
Progress: By September 2020, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had reduced by 21%.
Target: Reduce the gap in economic activity for people aged 16-64 by 50% by 2024
The economic activity rate measures the proportion of people aged 16-64 who are actively participating in the labour market, including both those employed and those out-of-work but actively seeking a job. It provides a wider measure of what is happening in the labour market. Again, the economic activity rate is lower in the North East LEP area than in England excluding London.
Progress: By September 2020, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had reduced by 23%.
Target: Reduce the gap in GVA per hour worked by 50% by 2024
Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or region in the United Kingdom. GVA per hour worked is a way of measuring the productivity. Again, the GVA per hour worked is lower in the North East LEP area than in England excluding London. We previously defined productivity as GVA per full time equivalent job, but due to changes in the underlying datasets used to manage this, we are now using GVA per hour worked. This brings us in line with the Industrial Strategy.
Progress: By 2018, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had increased by 19%.
The first version of the Strategic Economic Plan was published in April 2014. It followed on from the North East Independent Economic Review and set out a high level vision for the economy and included investment programmes for Local Growth Fund and European funds which were available at that time.
The SEP was refreshed during 2016 and launched in March 2017 following an extensive consultation involving businesses and economic partners. The refresh process enabled the region to reflect on new economic data following the end of the recession and the changing economic policy environment including the decision to leave the European Union.