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North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“We are pleased to see the continued growth of employment in the North East region,” she said. “Today’s statistics show that the number of people in work has increased by 13,000 over the last quarter. 

“Over this period, we have seen a particularly strong improvement in the employment rate for 16 to 64 year olds, with this having increased at more than four times the rate of England as a whole and the North East having the second highest increase in the country.

“We have also seen a decline in the number of people out of work, with 8,000 fewer people unemployed than in the last quarter. This means the unemployment rate has decreased from 5.2% to 4.6%. This is the largest decrease of any region in the UK over this period. 

“Both of these trends are a continuation of the good news we’ve had on the labour market over the last year. 

“We will continue to work with our partners to build on this progress and deliver the North East Strategic Economic Plan’s ambition of ‘more and better jobs’ for the region.

“At a national level, the focus of discussion about today’s data has primarily been on wage levels.  The data released does not provide a regional breakdown of wage growth.  Improving the productivity of the North East’s businesses will help them deliver wage increases and the SEP’s programmes of activities on business growth, innovation, skills and infrastructure all contribute to strengthening regional productivity.”

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