Confident Hartlepool business bosses are predicting more jobs for the area in the run-up to Christmas.
The economic prospects are looking more promising than a year ago, according to a new economic briefing from the local enterprise specialists Tees Valley Unlimited.
Survey suggests employers in the region are cautiously optimistic and maintain generally positive hiring intentions for the three months to December, broadly in line with national expectationsTVU spokesman
It refers to the latest Employment Outlook Survey from Manpower for the fourth quarter of 2016.
The survey suggests employers are cautiously optimistic about hiring people in the three months to December.
It said the outlook “remains significantly above that which existed 12 months ago”.
The news comes at a time when Hartlepool is continuing to add to the jobs investment in the Tees Valley. One highlight was waste-to-energy specialists PROBIO Energy which sealed a 10-year deal to supply recycled wood.
The contract to supply up to 170,000 tonnes of recycled wood per year means 86 new jobs - six at PROBIO’s Hartlepool office and around 80 workers at the plant in Hull.
Other recent boosts included Hartlepool Borough Council’s appointment of 21 new apprentice recruits this year, taking the total of apprentices it employs to 45.
The Hartlepool Mail also recently reported that Argos had launched a drive to recruit more than 30 seasonal Christmas workers with 12 new staff at its Hartlepool Marina branch, and 22 at the store in Peterlee.
And nearby, Costa Coffee is opening a new café in Billingham town centre and has agreed a 15-year lease on a 2,000 sq ft unit. Around ten new jobs are expected to be created.
But the TVU report also tells that there’s still more work to do on the employment front.
The briefing adds: “Whilst Tees Valley unemployment (averaging 26,400 for the 12-month period to March 2016) has fallen sharply by close to 14,000 over the past three years, the latest local rate (8.3%) remains significantly above both national (5.2%) and North of England (6.0%) average rates.
“The most recent estimates suggest that Tees Valley would need to have 10,000 fewer people unemployed to match the UK rate and 7,000 fewer to be in line with the North of England average.”