'Uneven recovery' in South Tyneside as most affluent areas bounce back from covid more quickly than most deprived
Figures have laid bare an ‘uneven economic recovery’ in South Tyneside’s most affluent and deprived wards.
Data revealed this week the unemployment claimant count has continued to fall across the borough since March 2021.
In addition, recent figures show unemployment rates declining across all of South Tyneside’s 18 wards compared to a year ago – particularly in the areas with the highest rates.
Despite this, council officers say the figures show an uneven picture as some wards are improving faster than others.
“Those wards which started pre-pandemic at the lowest unemployment rates are seeing the biggest falls,” said Rory Sherwood-Parkin, senior economic policy manager at South Tyneside Council.
“So those more affluent areas are seeing their claimant counts go down faster than the more disadvantaged areas which could point towards an economic recovery which is uneven.
“So potential issues in disadvantaged areas could be accessing job opportunities.
“And when you look for example at Cleadon and East Boldon their claimant count has fallen by 35% since this time last year, whereas in Simonside and Rekendyke they have fallen by 13%.
“There’s quite a disparity.”
The comments came during a meeting of the council’s Education and Skills Panel on October 13, which was held at South Shields Town Hall.
Data in the September South Tyneside Monthly Economic Monitor, Simonside and Rekendyke has the highest unemployment claimant count in the borough followed by Biddick and All Saints and Beacon and Bents.
Meanwhile, the areas with the lowest unemployment claimant count included Cleadon and East Boldon, Westoe and Whitburn and Marsden.
Councillor Audrey Huntley, who chairs the Education and Skills Panel, suggested a shift in focus to certain wards in future.
This could form part of the council’s ongoing Skills Commission, which aims to make recommendations to council bosses to help increase employment opportunities and prosperity in the borough.
Cllr Huntley added: “I think it is interesting the unemployment rates dropping significantly in some areas and less so [in others].
“So I think again, what we have just been discussing about actually having the correct young people trained or retraining if it’s an older person, maybe we do need to focus on certain wards as well to make sure that they get up to speed as quick as possible.
“Because if one benefits, we all benefit.”