Labour market statistics were released today showing:
- Employment in the North East stands at 1,148,000 or 66.8% – a fall of 23,000 over the quarter and rise of 24,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 70.6% nationally.
- North East unemployment stands at 124,000 or 9.7% – a rise of 6,000 over the quarter and 1,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 7.9% nationally.
- The claimant count stands at 80,900 or 6.6% in the North East, compared to 4.5% nationally.
These figures show a worrying change from recent trends. Employment has shrunk and unemployment jumped since last month’s estimates, and while this is reflected in the changes nationally, the gap between the North East and UK has increased significantly in this month’s figures. North East unemployment is close to its peak of a year ago after falling steadily since then. Full details can be seen here.
Some caveats should be noted: employment numbers are still well up in the region on a year ago; claimant count figures (which are more recent) show a fall for the North East; the picture is much better than after the early 1990s recession; and it must be remembered that the relatively small survey size at North East level leaves substantial margin for error in these figures. However, it will be important to keep a close watch on whether this month’s statistics represent a blip, or a new trend.