Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows an estimated 115,497 people in the city were on company payrolls in December – 823 more than in November and the highest increase since records began in 2014.
The figure was also up from 109,928 in December 2020 and was above the pre-pandemic level of 112,143 workers on company payrolls in December 2019.
The number of workers on UK payrolls also jumped by a record 184,000 month-on-month, to 29.5 million.
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Around 9,810 people were on out-of-work benefits as of December 9 – down by 3,545 from the month before – and meaning 5.7% of the area's working population sought support in December.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “Those reporting they’d recently been made redundant fell to their lowest since records began more than a quarter of a century ago and, while job vacancies reached a new high in the last quarter of 2021, they are now growing more slowly than last summer.”
The data also shows the median monthly salary for payrolled workers in Sunderland rose from £1,857 in November to £1,872 at the end of the year.
National average wage growth, including bonuses, was 4.2% in the three months to November but with inflation hitting 5.1% in November, real wages failed to keep up with the rising cost of living for the first time since July 2020.