North East unemployment fell in the most recent quarter to its lowest level since 2018. The jobless figure for May-July was 4.7%, lower than at any time since May-July 2018, when it was 4.5%, according to latest figures from Office for National Statistics.
Compared with the February-April quarter the rate was down 0.5%, compared with a reduction in the UK average of just 0.2%.
But the regional rate is still the highest in the UK and compares with a national average of 3.6%.
And the regional economic inactivity rate – those not in work and not seeking work – was up 0.5% to 25.3% and compares with a national average of 21.7%. Only Northern Ireland and Wales have higher levels of economic inactivity.
The North East employment rate was up 0.1% on the quarter to 71.3%, still the lowest apart from Northern Ireland. The UK average is 75.4%.
The North East England Chamber of Commerce commented: ‘In the North East, the unemployment rate has improved by 0.5% compared to last year. However, the employment rate is 0.5% lower, and economic inactivity has worsened by 1%. The rise in economic inactivity is due to a variety of reasons; one being the significant rise in long term ill health, which is a concern.’