Economy expert’s delight at Peterlee jobs ‘growth’

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AN economy expert says the expansion of a southern pharmaceutical firm into the region is a step in the right direction for employment.

Bristol Laboratories, which has bases in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, is bringing 300 jobs over five years when it moves into the former Reckitt Benckiser household cleaner products plant on Peterlee’s Whitehouse Business Park, as reported last week.

Mauricio Armellini, chief economist of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Employment in the region is not only high but growing at a record rate.”

Latest Office of National Statistics labour market figures show that for the first time in history, the North-East has reached a 70 per cent employment rate, against the UK rate of 73 per cent.

The employment rate gap with the UK hasn’t been this low since 2010.

The region saw one of the largest regional rises in jobs rates compared to the previous year.

Statistics show economic inactivity is still at record low levels, and dropping fastest than anywhere else.

There is a record number of people in work, up 54,000 compared to the same quarter last year, at over 1.21m.