Number of North East people locked out of jobs market rises again

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Long-term sickness has been highlighted as a major cause for people being out of work.

The North East economy has fallen further behind the rest of the country, with the number of working age people outside the job market approaching 30 per cent.

The latest Office for National Statistics employment data shows the North East has the highest economic inactivity rate in England.

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The number of people in the North East classed as economically inactive has risen againThe number of people in the North East classed as economically inactive has risen again
The number of people in the North East classed as economically inactive has risen again

Between January and March 2024, the unemployment rate in the North East was 4.4%, just 0.1% higher than the national average - but the employment rate was 69.1% in the region and 75.5% nationally, a difference of 5.4%.

That discrepancy was accounted for by the fact that the number of people of working age not in employment or looking for a job was significantly higher in the region than the country as a whole. The economic inactivity rate for ages 16-64 was 22.1% nationwide, but 27.6% locally, a rise of 0.7 on last month.

North East England Chamber of Commerce policy adviser Callum George said ill health was the largest contributing factor to the number of people stranded outside the jobs market: “Last month, we spoke to North East Chamber of Commerce members about the importance of occupational health,” he said.

“The impact of people being unable to work due to long term sickness was highlighted as a major issue for businesses.

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“We know that in our region there are significant opportunities on the horizon - through further and deeper devolution, or the exciting new industries emerging here in the North East.

Callum GeorgeCallum George
Callum George

“It is crucial that as many people as possible have the chance to take advantage of this, and secure rewarding, good work.

“Following the recent mayoral elections for the North East and Tees Valley, we are reassured by the importance placed on supporting people into work and improving the quality of life in our region by both successful candidates.

“Ahead of a likely general election before the end of the year, we would urge both major parties to make breaking down barriers to work a priority.”

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