Number of people in work is on the rise

Northumberland Gazette latest
Northumberland Gazette latest

Employment has risen in the region, new figures reveal.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics today shows that 1.21million people are employed across the North East, which is an increase of 5,000 compared to this time last year.

Meanwhile, the current unemployment rate in the region is 88,000, which is a drop of one per cent compared to the same time last year. This figure takes into account people who are on benefit, as well as those who are not claiming but are looking for work.

It comes as the national unemployment rate has fallen to 4.7 per cent – the lowest level in 12 years. Employment continues to run at a record-high rate of 74.6 per cent, with 31.85million people in work; an increase of 315,000 on the year and more than 2.8million since 2010.

Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds, said: “There’s great news in the North East where the number of people in work is at a near record high. But we have more to do, which is why we’re pressing ahead with our welfare reforms to ensure that it always pays to be in work.”

Paul Carbert, policy adviser for the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “The figures released this morning show that the North East labour market ended 2016 in a better position compared to the previous year, with unemployment lower and employment higher.

“With a number of increases in labour costs for employers due to be introduced in April, including the apprenticeship levy, immigration skills charge and an increase in the national minimum wage, the Government must consider measures to reduce the impact of these rising business costs. These expenses will undoubtedly impact on employers’ ability to recruit.

“In order to create a North East where as many people as possible are in work, we have also urged the Government to introduce new funding models. We want these models to support retraining and up-skilling of existing workers to ensure that employers have access to the skills they need.”