Hartlepool boost for Tees Valley jobs economy

A PROSPEROUS December saw Tees Valley’s economy improve with hundreds of extra jobs created.

Hartlepool was instrumental in the boost which saw a net gain of 800 jobs during December, according to the latest monthly economic briefing released by regeneration agency Tees Valley Unlimited.

It was a month when the good news for the Hartlepool area included Clipper Logistics announcing plans for a £40m distribution centre at Wynyard Park.

The 1m sq ft warehouse will service the company’s contract with George at Asda and create between 400 and 500 jobs when it opens in August.

TVU also reported that Hartlepool firm Engineering Test Services, which specialises in non-destructive testing, had been brought by the Mistras Group. The US giant has 79 offices around the world and could increase the number of employees in Hartlepool from 85 to 135 following the deal.

In the same month, Teesside was named by the Government as a national Centre for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE) excellence.

One of only five areas across England to get the recognition which reflects its potential for offshore wind development in the Tees Valley. The news came at a time when Spanish wind turbine blade manufacturer Gamesa was pondering on whether to choose Hartlepool or Leith in Edinburgh for investment.

Madrid-based Gamesa wants to build a UK plant to make wind turbines which will create 1,000 direct jobs as well as 800 supply chain posts.

A TVU spokesman said: “December saw the third highest number of monthly job gains of 2011 at over 800 with the majority of new roles created through business expansions in the logistics, engineering and healthcare sectors.

“However, there were warning signs with the possibilities of job losses in local government, leisure and retail.”

The overall outlook for 2011 was promising, said TVU.

The spokesman added: “There was a sharp increase in reported job gains in December, whilst reported job losses remain at an extremely low level. Job gains have far outweighed job losses throughout 2011, except for a couple of quiet months in the summer, though even then, there was a net gain in jobs.”