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Reaction as North East employment figures suffer further fall
Posted by Jamie Hardesty on 15 Feb 2017
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures have revealed a further fall in North East employment, adding to the employment decrease at the end of last year.
Employment stands at 1,199,000 or 70.3%, a decrease of 16,000 over the quarter and 9,000 over the year. North East unemployment, meanwhile, stands at 90,000 or 7.0% - an increase of 11,000 over the quarter.
Paul Carbert, North East England Chamber of Commerce policy adviser, said: “The employment statistics released this morning show a slightly more negative picture than we have seen for the past few months, with a slight decrease in employment in the North East, while the general pattern nationally has been relatively flat for both employment and unemployment.
“These results are in line with our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2016, which showed employers were less positive about workforce growth than in previous quarters.
“We have called on the Government to use the opportunity of the upcoming Budget to support a Working North East, and ensure that the progress made on reducing unemployment last year is not lost.”
Alistair Sutherland, managing director, of Synthesis-IT, a business computing consultancy based in North Shields, said: “We are continuing to grow our business with a good mixture of retained and new clients which means we are keen to recruit new members to our team.
"These figures represent a clear picture of how challenging we see the North East labour market at present. Our view is that there is an urgent need for more appropriately skilled workers in our sector to enable us to exploit all the opportunities we have in the pipeline.”
Kate Culverhouse, Chief Executive of Groundwork North East & Cumbria, a charity which supports people to improve their employability through training and volunteering opportunities, said: “These disappointing figures are an indication that the skills base in the North East is seriously lacking.
"Employment is a game in which the goal posts are constantly moving and to stay in the game by gaining new skills and developing your existing abilities, can be costly, both in terms of time and finances.
“To help people secure long-term employment, we need to make sure that there are experience and training opportunities available to everyone in the region. We particularly need to support older people to up-skill so they can progress into higher paid roles, opening up opportunities for younger people entering the labour market.
Nigel Mills, Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “While the employment picture looks positive nationally, there is clearly more work needed in the North East to provide growth and jobs.
"Almost all growth in new jobs comes from a tiny fraction of companies and around a third of them come from high-growth scale-ups. To tackle the North East’s employment problems Government at all levels and private businesses need to work together to address the issues that prevent more of our companies from expanding.“