Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 09.52.13North East LEP Economist Fiona Thom reacts to today’s statistics which show both employment and unemployment levels rising in the region

The Labour Market Statistics for the latest quarter reveal the number of people in work increased from 68.1% to 68.5% with a total of 1.18m people aged over 16 now in employment in the North East.

Unemployment also increased slightly in the quarter to 8.9%.

Fiona said: “It’s important to look at today’s statistics in the context of longer term trends which show that unemployment has fallen from a high of 10.3% just over two years ago to today’s level.

“Employment and unemployment have both increased slightly in the North East in the last quarter which has occurred as people have moved from inactivity to being active in the labour market, either in work or actively looking for a job.

“The reduction in inactivity levels is positive for the region as more people are available and wanting to work.

“Today’s figures should also be seen in the context of last week’s ONS Gross Value Added data which measured the value of the economy based on the production of goods and services.

“GVA in the North East increased by 3.3% to £47.7bn in 2014, adding £1.5bn to the regional economy compared to the previous year.

“In the past three years, the North East is one of just four regions in the UK to have recorded increasing economic growth in successive years.”