New jobs figures show North East's economic recovery from Covid is 'stuttering'
The North East’s economic recovery from Covid is failing, with more people falling out of the jobs market, says the region’s leading business organisation.
The latest figures show employment in the North East stands at 1,186,000, a rise of 2,300 (0.2%) over the quarter but a fall of 20,000 (1.7%) over the year. The North East employment rate stands at 70.2%, compared to 75.5% nationally.
North East unemployment stands at 67,000, a fall of 4,800 (6.7%) over the quarter and 6,800 (9.2%) over the year. The unemployment rate is 5.4%, compared to a national rate of 3.8%.
The number of people classed as economically inactive in the region is 417,000, an increase of 10,700 (2.6%) on the quarter and 36,000 (9.3%) on the year. The North East economic inactivity rate stands at 25.7%, while the national rate is 21.4%.
The region’s seasonally adjusted unemployed benefit claimant count stands at 78,500, a fall of 2,200 (2.7%) over the month and 38,800 over the year (33.1%).
The claimant count rate for the North East is 5.6%.
North East England Chamber of Commerce knowledge development manager Arlen Pettitt said: “These jobs numbers tell their own story, especially when put alongside Monday’s GDP figure showing just 0.1% growth in February.
"The headline rate of unemployment may have fallen, however, this isn’t the result of more people in work but rather more people drifting out of the labour market entirely, as seen in the rising economic inactivity figure.
“What we have is an economic recovery which is stuttering. Just as the cost of living is starting to bite for individuals, so too is the cost of doing business for our region’s employers. Our latest economic survey told us costs are the biggest worry for businesses, with nine in ten North East firms citing inflation as a concern and the same number saying energy prices.
“The Chancellor’s Spring Statement failed to address those concerns. It’s been two almost impossibly difficult years, and with more uncertainty ahead of us we need the Government to face up to reality and take some tangible steps to support business recovery.”