North East Devolution and Levelling Up
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North East labour market ‘slightly more positive’ – LEP

North East unemployment has risen month-on-month after recording a four-year low in May, according to figures today from the Office for National Statistics.

The jobless rate for the three months February to April was 5.2%, which was down 0.3% for the previous three months (November-January) but up 0.2% from the four-year low of 5% recorded in May.

The February-April figure for the North East was the highest in the UK, ahead of London on 4.8% and Yorkshire & the Humber on 4.6%. The UK average is 3.8%.

The North East economic inactivity rate (people not in work and not looking for work) is 24.8%, which is higher than all parts of the UK except Northern Ireland but 0.3% lower than in the previous three months while the UK rate has fallen by only 0.1% to 21.3%.

The region’s employment rate, taking account of both unemployment and economic inactivity, is 71.2%, which is the lowest in the UK except Northern Ireland. The region’s rate did, however, rise by 0.5% compared with November-January while the UK rate rose by only 0.2%. The UK rate is now 75.6%.

Over the past year the North East’s unemployment rate has fallen by 1.1%, which is the same as the UK average, but at the same time the economic inactivity rate has risen by 1.2%, which is higher than all other parts of the UK except the East Midlands. The region’s employment rate has therefore decreased by 0.3%, the only region or nation to record a year-on-year fall.

Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), said: ‘The data released today paints a slightly more positive picture than the last month with an additional 10,500 people in employment. We have seen improvement in the employment rate across the country and it’s encouraging to see the North East moving at a slightly quicker rate than the national average in this period.

‘Older and younger men and women of all ages were the groups who re-entered the labour market during this quarter.

‘We should however approach this month’s data with caution as the labour market remains volatile as the economy faces significant challenges with large increases in inflation and the cost of living continuing to rise. It is likely that these factors will have an impact on the labour market in months to come and we must continue to monitor these changes closely and respond accordingly.’