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Chamber comment on latest employment statistics


Niamh Corcoran, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: The labour market figures released today make for worrying reading, with employment falling and unemployment spiking in the North East.

The region’s employment rate fell by 2.1% on the previous quarter, the largest fall of any region over the last three months. The North East now finds itself with the highest unemployment rate, the lowest employment rate and the lowest average hours worked of all British regions.

“There are a lot of firms re-opening and continuing to trade strongly but we do have to be aware that there are very likely more redundancies to come. We haven’t seen the peak spike yet.

“After months of the Job Retention Scheme masking the true impact of the crisis on the labour market and propping up the employment rate, it is clear now that the pandemic is beginning to take its toll. Worryingly, with the end of the Job Retention Scheme fast approaching, as well as the threat of tighter Coronavirus restrictions in the North East looming, we would expect to see this trend continue.

“Although the Government’s amendments to the Jobs Support Scheme offers some support for our region in the event of tighter restrictions, it does not go far enough. The North East urgently needs stronger economic support for the hardest hit businesses in order to protect jobs, as well as a long-term strategy for retraining and job creation. We also need to see support for our business start-ups. Our region needs to see swift and decisive action from Government to avoid record unemployment and long-term economic scarring.”



  • Employment in the North East stands at 1,172,000 or 71.8% - a fall of 37,000 over the quarter and 7000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 75.6% nationally.
  • North East unemployment stands at 86,000 or 6.6% - an increase of 18,000 over the quarter and an increase of 11,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 4.5% nationally.
  • The claimant count stands at 125,600 or 10.% in the North East. This is a rise of 1,200 people over the month and 53,300 over the year.
  • The employment data covers the period June to August 2020. The provisional claimant count data is for September 2020. The next release is on 10 November 2020.