Sunderland’s jobless count rises - but more are in work across region

The latest employment figures have been released
The latest employment figures have been released

The number of people claiming out-of-work benefits in Sunderland rose by almost 200 last month.

There were 5,980 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit in the city in March, a rise of 180 on February’s figure of 5,800 - but just 115 more than a year ago.

The labour market in the North East has been steadily improving over the past couple of years. The Government should take action to ensure that this continues.

Paul Carbert

Employment in the North East stands at 1,231,000 or 73.4% (compared to 75.4% nationally) - an increase of 2,000 over the quarter and 27,000 over the year.

North East unemployment stands at 63,000 or 4.8% - a fall of 5,000 over the quarter and 20,000 over the year. The national rate is 4.2%.

The claimant count stands at 57,700 or 4.7% in the North East. The national claimant count rate is 2.4%.

North East England Chamber of Commerce policy adviser Paul Carbert said: “Some really positive figures for the North East this quarter.

“The region has the highest level and rate of employment and lowest level and rate of unemployment since comparable records began in 1992. Also a healthy fall in the economic inactivity rate, the largest drop in the country.

“The labour market in the North East has been steadily improving over the past couple of years. The Government should take action to ensure that this continues, by monitoring the costs to businesses of taking on staff, and ensuring that the education system is responsive to firms’ skills needs.”

North East Local Enterprise Partnership Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland welcomed the figures but warned against complacency.

“We are pleased that today’s data shows that employment continues to rise in the North East,” she said.

“The number of people in the North East in work has increased 2,000 over the quarter and 27,000 over the year.

“There has been particularly strong growth in employment in professional, scientific and technical activities (such as law, accountancy and architecture); accommodation and food services (such as hotels, restaurants and bars); agriculture, forestry and fishing; and arts, entertainment and recreation.

“The increase in employment opportunities has resulted in the number of people that are unemployed falling. The unemployment rate for 16-to-64-year-olds is now 5.0%, compared to 6.7% a year ago and 8.0% two years ago.

“The North East has experienced the largest decrease in its unemployment rate of all English regions over the last year. It was also the region with the largest increase in its employment rate.

“While our progress is great news, there is still more to be done. The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan’s ambition of more and better jobs for the region.”