A mixed start to the year for job opportunities in Hartlepool

Paul Smith in his office located at The Innovation Centre. Picture by FRANK REID

Paul Smith in his office located at The Innovation Centre. Picture by FRANK REID

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Hartlepool provided the biggest ups and downs of a busy start to the Tees Valley economic year, a new report has shown.

Tees Valley Unlimited has produced its latest economic briefing, which focused on January.

And while steel sector job losses continued in Hartlepool at Tata, the town received better news with the announcement of upcoming new jobs at MBi Social Care.

A spokesman for TVU, whose managing director is Stephen Catchpole, said: “January saw a slight pick-up in positive job announcements but these were largely offset by further steel sector job losses at Tata.”

Just last month, Tata Steel confirmed it was slicing 1,050 jobs off its UK operation.

That included its Brenda Road site in Hartlepool, which will shed 62 posts out of a town workforce of 500 steelworkers

But in the same month, the Hartlepool Mail also exclusively revealed that 100 jobs are on the way to town under MBi Social Care’s massive plans for expansion.

Managing director Paul Smith told how a £1m investment in Hartlepool was part of an even bigger proposal to create 2,000 new jobs across the North.

MBi is based in an office at the UK Steel Enterprise-run Innovation Centre on the Queens Meadow Business Park. It has also just acquired a care home in the town which it is now renovating.

It is adding an extra 25 beds to make it a 75-bed specialist dementia care facility, serving the Headland.

The TVU report also spotlighted the positive signs in the UK economy as a whole.

It said: “The Office for National Statistics (ONS) preliminary Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimate suggests that the UK economy grew by 2.2% in 2015, down from a 2.9% increase in 2014 but on a par with the 2.2% increase observed in 2013.

“Since the small fall in GDP in the final quarter of 2012, the UK has now seen 12 consecutive quarters of growth.”

The report also indicated that total Tees Valley job vacancies were up by 19% in 2015, increasing from 24,100 to 28,600 over the year.