Fabricating a brighter future

HIGHLIGHT: Left to right, Greg McKenna, Sze-Meng Kugh, Olivier Burger and Stuart Drummond as the first sheet of steel is cut at Heerema

HIGHLIGHT: Left to right, Greg McKenna, Sze-Meng Kugh, Olivier Burger and Stuart Drummond as the first sheet of steel is cut at Heerema

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HARTLEPOOL provided one of the rare economic highlights in a quiet December for Tees Valley’s industry.

That’s the finding of the latest Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) economic briefing, which studied movement in the business world across the area.

But the new year looks set to bring reports of more job losses, says the TVU study.

The good news was that up to 450 jobs will be saved and created over three years at Heerema Hartlepool which is building four platforms as part of the Cygnus gas-field project in the southern part of the North Sea.

It means that 100 workers will see their jobs safe for the next three years, with another 350 jobs created.

But the flip side of the study said: “The Staples stationary store in Hartlepool is to close with the business restructuring and closing 23 of 134 shops across the UK.

“The number of redundancies is currently unknown, as it is at Comet, who closed stores in Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton as the firm entered administration.”

But the TVU spokesman admitted: “It was a very quiet month for reported job gains and losses. December was a relatively quiet month for reported job gains and losses.

“There was a slight fall in the claimant unemployment rate for the Tees Valley during November while the North-East and GB remained constant.

“The Tees Valley rate has been between 6.6 per cent and 6.8 per cent throughout 2012, but remains above the level seen during 2011.

“The number of vacancies in the Tees Valley notified to jobcentreplus showed a slight dip the Tees Valley in November as did the North-East.

“Vacancy numbers normally begin to fall at this time of the year, but are substantially above the numbers at the same time last year. Job vacancy figures are highly seasonal.

“December was a largely quiet month, with fewer stories to report as businesses wound down before the Christmas break.”

Other positives included fertiliser manufacturer GrowHow, one of the UK’s largest ammonium nitrate producers, agreeing a new deal with its bank RBS to continue its successful operations in Billingham.

“In addition, EDF Energy Renewables have resumed the installation of wind turbines off the coast of Redcar.

“The Teesside Offshore Wind farm project should be completed by summer 2013,” said the TVU spokesman.