North East still trailing behind the rest of the UK, new jobs figures show

The North East economy is still trailing the rest of the UK as more people fall out of the jobs market, says the region’s biggest business organisation.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that between March and May 2022, the North East’s employment rate was 71.5%, compared to a national rate of 75.9%.

The UK’s national unemployment rate for all workers aged 16+ was 3.8%, but 5.1% in the North East.

And the rate of people aged 16-64 classed as economically inactive in the region was 24.8%, compared to 21.1% nationally.

North East England Chamber of Commerce Policy Manager Marianne O’Sullivan said getting people back into the jobs market was critical to the region’s economic recovery after the pandemic: “Today’s employment figures show that there are still gaps between the North East and the rest of the UK,” she said.

“The North East’s unemployment rate is 1.3% higher than the UK average, our economic inactivity rate is 3.7% higher and our employment rate is 4.4% lower.

“In the last 12 months there has been a 0.8% decrease in the unemployment rate for the North East for all workers above the age of 16. – but there has been a 0.2% reduction in the employment rate and a 0.9% increase in economic inactivity for workers aged 16-64 in the region.

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The latest employment figures have been released

"Reducing economic inactivity is a key opportunity for the region and we will be working with employers to access new talent and close some of these gaps ourselves but we urge the Government to do more.

Richard Baker, Strategy and Policy Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said the picture in the last three months had been more encouraging: “Recent employment trends in the North East region have continued to improve, with an additional 11,600 people in employment compared to the previous quarter and a larger increase in the employment rate than nationally.“The statistics also show a decrease in economic inactivity during the last quarter that is larger than nationally, and a continuing high level of labour market demand.

"However, there remains a challenge to ensure the North East labour market is working for all age groups with younger and older workers not securing employment at the same rate as other groups.”

North East England Chamber of Commerce Policy Manager Marianne O’Sullivan
Richard Baker, Strategy and Policy Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership