The North East LEP today welcomed the latest regional labour market statistics which revealed the local economy outperforming the English average in creating more jobs.
Office for National Statistics data shows that the employment of people aged 16-64 in the North East increased by 12,000 in September to November 2014 and was up 33,000 on the same period 12 months earlier.
The North East employment rate outperformed the average for England in the last quarter and compared to the same period in 2013 – maintaining a longer term trend of more people in work and fewer out of work.
The North East employment rate now stands at 69.7%, just shy of the record rate of 70%, a 3% increase compared to a year ago.
While the English average employment rate stands at 73.3%, it did not change compared to the previous quarter and increased by only 1.5% on the year.
The North East unemployment rate continued to fall from 10.4% at the end of 2013 to 8.7% in the last quarter. Claimant count data for December 2014 also shows there are 1,600 fewer people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in the North East compared to November 2014 – nearly 22,000 less than December 2013.
The inactivity rate – a measure of the percentage of the population not looking for work – has also fallen in the North East by 3.3% to 23.7% over the 12 months to November 2014 while in England it has remained unchanged over that same period.
North East LEP Chief Economist Chris Milne said: “As the North East Independent Economic Review and our economic plan recognise, it’s essential we concentrate on closing the gap in employment rates with the rest of England.
“We are at the beginning of this process, but these latest statistics show that we are making substantial progress.
“Today’s data released by the ONS shows that the North East continues to achieve better labour market outcomes and is catching up with the rest of the country.
“This is not just a short term trend but part of a longer term trajectory for the area’s economy which is encouraging.
“A key objective of the North East’s strategic economic plan is to deliver more and better jobs for everyone – this underpins our approach to creating sustainable growth and greater competitiveness for the North East.”