Employment in the North East has risen over the last year, latest job data reveals.
The figures were announced on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.
The information shows that employment in the region stands at 1,229million, or 73.2 per cent.
This represents an increase of 13,000 over the quarter and 6,000 over the year and compares to a rate of 75.6 per cent nationally.
North East unemployment stands at 59,000, or 4.6 per cent – a fall of 8,000 over the quarter and 11,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 4.2 per cent nationally.
The claimant count stands at 59,500, or 4.9 per cent in the North East. The national claimant count rate is 2.5 per cent.
Steve McCall, from Jobcentre Plus, said: “The region continues to benefit from a diverse range of employment opportunities.
“From expanding sectors such as IT/digital, to more traditional recruiters in care and contact centres, we are seeing a range of working hours and patterns, with a lot of full-time recruitment still taking place.”
Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re delighted that the statistics continue the recent trend of positive news for the North East labour market.
“The unemployment rate in the North East has fallen below five per cent for the first time and is now at half the level of four years ago.
“But we are concerned that the number of apprenticeship starts and workplaces employing apprentices has fallen in the North East since the introduction of the apprenticeship reforms in April 2017.
“We have called on the Government to reform the apprenticeship system and allow businesses greater flexibility to access funding for relevant workplace training.”