Ruth Mitchell

North East unemployment figures receive cautious welcome

The Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by news that North East unemployment levels have fallen for the second month in a row.

Unemployment in the North East currently stands at 138,000, or 10.8% which represents a fall of 11,000 over the quarter but a rise of 11,000 over the year. While this is still higher than the national rate by 8.4%, it reflects small levels of business positivity in the region.

Commenting on the news, James Ramsbotham said: “It is excellent news that for the second month in a row we have seen a fall in the number of unemployed people in the North East and we appear to be closing the gap on the rest of the UK.

“While we must not get carried away, this news must receive a cautious welcome and it does reflect increasing business positivity from our membership.”

Mr Ramsbotham also offered his sympathies to individuals who have been hit by cutbacks, both in the public sector and in manufacturing. However, he was also keen to focus on the regions strength areas.

“While we are still to experience the full impact of the public sector cutbacks, our manufacturing and engineering sector continues to provide the foundations for our economic recovery, remaining the only region with a positive balance of overseas trade and on course for another record year.

“This good news must be weighed against the sad news that Sanofi is to close its Fawdon plant with the loss of 400 jobs and the 515 jobs that are being lost at Rio Tinto Alcan, which confirmed its closure last week.

“While we welcome this good news, our sympathies lie with the people affected by those announcements.”

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