The number of North East people in work is at a ‘near record high’ with unemployment showing a steep drop, according to new figures.
Employment in the region rose by 10,000 to 1,209,000 or 70.5%. Nationally, 31.84million people are in work, which equates to 74.6% of the working age population.
Unemployment stands at 83,000 – a fall of 4,000 over the quarter and 21,000 over the year. That represents 6.4%, still considerably higer than the national rate of 4.7%.
Job Centre Plus manager Steve McCall told the Echo: “In the North East in general we’ve seen employment go up a little bit, to 1.21million.
“Unemployment is 6.4%, which is a reduction of 1.6% on last year.
“That’s the largest percentage drop together with Scotland which also reduced by 1.6%.
It is a significant fall in the right direction of unemploymentSteve McCall, Job Centre Plus
“It is a significant fall in the right direction of unemployment.
“We are seeing a good range of vacancies across several sectors, mostly full-time permanent jobs which is obviously good news. It’s been like that for a little while now.
Mr McCall said the Job Centre has seen ongoing recruitment at Nissan, Unipress, Go North East and Vantec.
“We are also seeing significant one-off recruitment,” he said. “Largely in hospitality, contact centre work, and in major shopping centres across the area, in the retail industry and manufacturing.
“This variety gives more of a chance to people to bring their skills from whatever they have done in the past .”
One of the employers to bring jobs to the region is outsourced contact centre firm ResQ, which is hiring 250 people as part of its plan to develop a 1,200 seat centre on the Spectrum Business Park in Seaham.
The firm’s original Hull site reached full capacity last year with more than 670 employees, prompting the decision to open in East Durham. Less than a year old, the new site already employs 250 people and is on track to double in size with the launch of the new South Wing.
Secretary of State Damian Green said: “There’s great news in the North East where the number of people in work are at a near record high of 1.21 million people in work.”
“More people are finding full-time jobs and average wages have grown yet again, meaning more families have the security of a regular wage.
“However, there is always more to do. That’s why we’re creating a welfare system that rewards work through Universal Credit, which helps claimants keep more of the money they earn.”