The number of people looking for work in South Tyneside fell last month.
There were 4,380 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – paid only to those classed as actively looking for work – in the borough, down from 4,425 in March.
The count is still higher than a year ago – there were 4,065 people claiming the benefit in the borough in March 2015.
Across the North East, the number of people in work rose by 21,000 to 1,206,000 in the year to the end of February.
Despite the increase in the number of people in work, unemployment also rose by 5,000, with the apparent discrepancy partly explained by the fact that the number of people classed as economically inactive – not working, but also not actively looking for a job – has fallen by 9,000 in the last year.
North East Chamber of Commerce head of policy and campaigns Jonathan Walker welcomed the rise in employment, but said more needs to be done to reduce the number of people looking for work across the region.
“We are encouraged by these numbers, as they show our employment level has increased by 4,000 over the last quarter.
“This reflects the findings of our recent Quarterly Economic Survey results, which reported just under a third of companies expected to increase their workforce over the next three months,” he said.
“Unemployment levels remain relatively static, but the rate is still far too high compared to the national figure.
“As part of our desire to drive a working North East, we are committed to bringing business and education together to create career opportunities for young people, which should continue to push our employment figures in the right direction.”
North East LEP chief economist Chris Milne said the rise in the number of people in work was good news for the region, but the refusal of the unemployment rate to fall was frustrating.
“This is further positive news following some great statistics over the past few months,” he said.
“The challenge now is to push on and continue to reduce inactivity and unemployment.
“The unemployment rate has flattened at about eight per cent.
“There remain significant challenges around labour market inactivity and employment but, as the rest of the country has seen steady growth of employment rates, the North East has narrowed the gap with the English average employment rate in each of the last three quarters.”
“Service sector and manufacturing jobs appear to have underpinned new job growth.”