Good and bad jobs numbers

THERE was mixed news on the jobs front for the North East in the latest information from the Office for National Statistics.

Employment in the region stands at 1,170,000 (67.2 per cent). This is a rise of 11,000 over the quarter and also 11,000 over the year.

But the unemployment figure is 136,000 (10.4 per cent), a rise of 5,000 over the quarter and 1,000 over the year.

North East Chamber of Commerce Director of Policy, Ross Smith, said: “It is good to see employment estimates up for the second successive month, but another slight rise in unemployment is a reminder that we must guard against complacency.

“While welcome, two months’ growth in employment levels does not reverse the negative changes we have seen throughout 2013, but hopefully it represents a positive trend as we approach the end of the year.

“And the (jobseeker’s allowance) claimant count figures continue to fall. They stand at their lowest levels for over two years, which is great news.”

Meanwhile, the Financial and Legal Skills Partnership believes it is critically important that young people in Northumberland are encouraged by both education providers and employers to develop the advanced skills needed to find full employment in an increasingly competitive jobs market.

Its comments follow Skills Minister Matthew Hancock saying it was vital that businesses work with schools and colleges to ensure all young people received high-quality careers advice – with employers taking centre stage in inspiring young people to get on in life.

Liz Field, CEO of the Financial & Legal Skills Partnership, said: “As the economic momentum starts to build we need to create sustainable, full-time work for our young people, this new generation on the threshold of careers. And these need to be real jobs, in which they can take pride and satisfaction, and feel secure.

“Schools and colleges can play a very important role in putting young people from Northumberland in touch with the world of work to inspire them about their futures, creating new worlds of opportunity and expanding their horizons to help them make fully informed decisions.

“Skills organisations and employers also have a part to play in ensuring that young people can access the guidance, information and practical tools needed to develop their confidence and potential. This can range from work experience and apprenticeships to virtual learning and graduate colleges.”