Official job figures reach record high

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan Walker

A report from the Office of National Statistics reveals the number of people in work has never been higher since records began in 1971.

The North-East employment rate is at a joint record high of 72.2 per cent, with unemployment down 1.4 per cent, taking it to 5.4 per cent.

Steve McCall, employer relationship manager at Jobcentre Plus in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, said: “This seems to follow a trend we have seen for the last year with an increase in the number of job opportunities.”

Another trend that seems to be emerging over the last few years is the rise in work experience, with Mr McCall claiming a lot of employers taking on work experience are offering jobs ‘there and then’.

He outlined some opportunities with North-East businesses, particularly home-care providers Carewatch and manufacturing recruitment agency MTrec, which offer training and work experience that come with a guaranteed interview at the end of the placement.

Separate figures show the number of people claiming Universal Credit in Northumberland has increased by six per cent, but it was claimed this does not reflect the labour market.

Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “These figures build on the good news we saw last month and confirm the remarkable improvements we have seen in our labour market in recent months. Significant increases in employment and falls in unemployment demonstrate the opportunities available in the North East as we continue to progress faster than many other parts of the UK.

“Exceptional changes in data such as this can sometimes prove to be a blip, but the long-term trends are clearly moving in the right direction. With the right support from the new Government, we believe we can build on our reputation as a working North East.”

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke, said the Government wants to ‘give everyone the opportunity to succeed, regardless of where they live or their background’.

He added: “There’s great news in the North East where the number of people in work is at a new record high of 1.22 million people and the employment rate has reached its highest level since comparable records began. This is good news for families as we continue to build a stronger, fairer Britain.”