Unemployment in Northumberland below English average
The latest employment figures have suggested Northumberland is outperforming the rest of the North East and England.
According to the data from the ONS (Office for National Statistics), just 4.3 per cent of 16-64-year-olds in the county were looking for work in October.
The numbers also showed a steady decline in the number of working age people seeking jobs over recent months.
“We’re performing better than any benchmark regionally and compared to the national picture,” said Coun Richard Wearmouth, the deputy leader of Northumberland County Council (NCC).
“To put that into context, the number of people who would have been registered as unemployed has dropped to 8,000 in a county of about 320,000 people [although] that includes a lot of people who might not be economically active, that’s positive news.
“We’re definitely a county which can look forward to a strong economic future and hopefully drive down unemployment further, but also avoid the problems of places like Reading, which has historically had too many jobs and not enough people to do them.”
Speaking at the county council’s Corporate Services and Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee, he added Northumberland’s economic performance had been a key draw for firms such as Britishvolt.
Earlier this year, NCC approved plans for the car battery maker to build a £2.6 billion gigaplant at Cambois, near Blyth, which is expected to create 3,000 direct jobs and another 5,000 in its supply chain and support services.
ONS figures for October recorded 8,145 job seekers in Northumberland, a fall from 8,610 in August and equivalent to 4.3 per cent of the county’s working age population.
Across the North East as a whole, there were 26,185 unemployed last month, a number which has also fallen since August, but which accounted for a jobless rate of 5.3 per cent.
This was higher than the England average for October, which stood at 4.9 per cent – equivalent to about 1.7 million people.
A government spokesman said its Plan for Jobs was connecting jobseekers to a record number of vacancies.
He added: “We have provided an additional £500 million to help the most vulnerable with essential costs this winter.”