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North East England Chamber of Commerce comment on employment statistics

 

Niamh Corcoran, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said:

Employment statistics released today continue to show the labour market in a relatively stable state, likely due to the support of the Job Retention Scheme. Overall, the region’s employment rate grew, and unemployment rate fell marginally over the quarter.

With the furlough scheme successfully protecting jobs, it is distorting the true picture. It is likely that the full extent of the pandemic’s impact on the regional labour market will only be clear once the scheme is wound down. It is at that point that Government will need to act quickly to mitigate spikes in regional unemployment.

Worryingly, today's national data exposes the significant impact of the pandemic on the employment prospects of young people. In the UK, more than half of those losing their jobs over the last year were below the age of 25, and 78% were under 35. With young people bearing the brunt of the crisis, the Government should urgently extend the Kickstart Scheme and strengthen the apprenticeships system to increase the opportunities for young people.