North East employment levels are increasing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country, according to latest statistics.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of people working in our region rose by 0.8 per cent in the period between August and October 2017, compared to the previous three months.

Employment consists of employees, self-employed people, unpaid family workers and people on government supported training and employment programmes.

And while optimism is cautious due to a particularly low estimate three months prior to the review period, the employment rate in the North East is gradually increasing each quarter.

Recruitment specialist GEM Premium People is also experiencing an upward trend in the number of positions being recruited for, and in turn the number of people entering the world of employment.

Maria Miller is Operations Director at the Peterlee-based company. She said: “There is certainly cause for optimism as far as the regional employment picture looks.

“Although the latest increase is small, it is the highest anywhere in the country compared to the previous three months, and continues the consistent increase in employment rates that the region has experienced over the last year.

“At GEM we’re certainly seeing a willingness among our client base to recruit at all levels, for temporary and permanent positions, while there also remains a steady level of training and apprenticeship-based opportunities for those people who perhaps haven’t been employed before or are looking for a change of direction.

“The aim now is to ensure employment levels in the North East continue to grow during 2018, and that we’re doing everything we can to support those people not yet in employment to get a foot on the career ladder.”

The latest ONS report also includes an overview of unemployment, employment and economic inactivity for County Durham for the 12-month period up to July 2017. It shows that:

  • There are 240,600 people employed (1.4 per cent higher than the regional rate)
  • There are 25,800 self-employed people
  • Over 14,000 people are unemployed
  • There are 256,500 people classed as economically inactive – that is those who aren’t in employment but do not meet the internationally accepted definition of unemployment because they have not been seeking work within the last four weeks and/or are unable to start work within the next two weeks.

Maria added: “There have been some real highlights for County Durham in the last 12 to 18 months, with many companies adding to their workforce with experienced personnel and apprentices and trainees.

“Of course, a key factor in the continuous increase in the number of people employed in the North East is access to the right skills and that’s something we’ll be looking closely at over the next 12 months – it’s a priority for us to ensure we have a deep and diverse talent pool to draw on to fulfil our clients’ expectations and facilitate their own plans for growth.”