The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chief Executive, Helen Golightly OBE, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

“Today’s statistics cover the North East region, which includes the North East LEP area and Tees Valley Combined Authority area, and covers the period September – November 2021.

“Today’s statistics make for difficult reading. The North East region’s latest employment rate was at 70.5%, which is by far the lowest in England. We’ve seen consistently over the previous three quarters that the number of people in work has fallen and that the number of people who have left the labour market and are categorised as economically inactive has increased. Significantly, the unemployment rate – this is people who don’t have a job, but are actively looking for work – has increased to a level that exceeds London, something we’ve not seen since September 2020.

“We are doing further analysis of these figures to understand the detail behind these changes, but it is clear that whilst other regions are moving ahead as they recover from COVID-19, the North East continues to face labour market challenges.

“We are expecting the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper to be published and it is clear that this is increasingly urgent to better understand how Government want to work in partnership with the North East to support us with our economic recovery to address these gaps and avoid further economic imbalance.”