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Concerns linger despite unemployment drop

Thursday 13 December 2012 5:00

The number of people out of work in the North East fell by 8,000 to 123,000 between August and October, official figures show.

Employment in the North East now stands at 1,177,000 or 67.9% – a rise of 18,000 over the quarter and 46,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 71.2% nationally, according to new Office of National Statistic figures.

At the same time unemployment stands at 123,000 or 9.7% – a fall of 8,000 over the quarter and 23,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 7.8% nationally.

The claimant count stands at 95,400 or 7.8% in the North East, compared to 4.8% nationally.

Ross Smith, director of policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “December estimates demonstrate a slight improvement on those released last month, but the good news is that both employment and unemployment rates continue to head in the right direction over the quarter.

“All positive change is going to be gradual, but it is reassuring that the longer term view remains positive. NECC’s last Quarterly Economic Survey showed increasing private sector positivity on workforce numbers and plant investment.

“However, growth in some areas – particularly engineering – remains constrained by skills shortages which must be addressed to help make a significant dent in these figures.”

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, David Cameron said that while long-term youth unemployment was down 10,000, the problem showed the importance of the government's Work Programme. However, "clearly, there is more to do," he said.