Employment rate on rise in region

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The employment rate in the North East now stands at 1,214,000, 70.4 per cent of the maximum number possible.

That figure, for the last three months of 2015, represents an increase of 47,000 on the previous quarter and 28,000 over the year.

It compares to a rate of 74.1 per cent nationally.

The region’s unemployment rate stands at 107,000 or 8.1 per cent.

That’s a fall of 2,000 over the quarter, but a rise of 4,000 over last year.

That figure compares to a rate of 5.1 per cent nationally.

The claimant count stands at 47,000 or 3.9 per cent in the North East, almost double the national tally of 2.2 per cent.

The number of Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants in the North East making claims for over two years has halved since January 2014.

Paul Carbert, a policy adviser at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is very encouraging news.

“We’re very pleased to see the employment rate up 2.1 per cent over the quarter. This is the largest rise in the country for the second month running.

“Although unemployment has decreased, it still remains high compared to the rest of the UK.

“Nevertheless, long-term unemployment is falling, so the North East is definitely heading in the right direction.”