A mixed economic picture

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TEES Valley’s economy has substantially slowed down – but it is still reporting more job gains than losses.

More than 150 extra jobs were created than lost during February, but the upward trend was “substantially” less impressive than in the autumn of 2011.

The latest economic briefing from regeneration experts Tees Valley Unlimited has just been released.

It shows that while February was slow, there was plenty of potential for improvement in the future with 1,300 possible new posts being predicted.

The bright news on the horizon included:

l Tata Steel predicting that its offshore wind work would eventually eclipse its traditional oil and gas related work. The company, which invested £2m in their Brenda Road-based steel mills at Hartlepool last year, makes steel tubular sections for wind turbine foundations.

l Approval for a £7m development which would create more than 200 houses at Seaton Carew, with 30 jobs created initially in a planned leisure complex which would be part of the scheme.

l Housing group Vela, which took on 24 apprentices last year, committing to recruit more in the future.

l Middleton Grange Shopping Centre in Hartlepool enjoying increased footfall after the move of BHS to the centre and a £3m improvement programme.

The study also reported on recent studies which showed confidence was falling among businesses in the North-East about future economic recovery, but at the same time almost three quarters of firms thought their business was in a strong position at the moment.

Surveys have also shown that the number of firms experiencing difficulties was lower in the North-East than London and the South-East and the percentage of firms reporting a growth in domestic orders was the highest in the UK.

Despite that, increases in turnover have been below the national average over the past three months.