18 facts that show the real scale of the challenge facing the North East economy

The Government claims the economy is on the mend - but are we seeing evidence of the recovery in the North East?

The North East's economy faces significant challenges

1. The North East continues to have the highest unemployment rate in England

Unemployment rate - December to February 2014

Office for National Statistics

2. But things are definitely going in the right direction - nearly 7,000 fewer people are now unemployed than at the start of 2013

Unemployment in numbers, December to February 2014


Unemployed in the North East


Unemployed - change on quarter


Unemployed - change on year

3. However, it was the end of Q3 2010 that any part of the UK had a higher unemployment rate than the North East

4. The picture is similar for young people - only Northern Ireland gets anywhere near the North East's youth unemployment rate of 23.6%

Youth unemployment rate

Office for National Statistics

5. And when you look at how things have changed since  2007, the effect of the recession becomes starkly clear

Youth unemployment in the North East


December 2007


February 2014

6. The number of so-called NEETs in the North East is hugely seasonally-dependent - but the overall trend is down

Young people not in employment, training or education in the North East

7. The North East might traditionally have been a manufacturing centre, but retail is now the dominant industry

What sectors are the North East's biggest employers?

8. What do we earn? Less than the rest of the country - with the exception of Northern Ireland

Pay across the UK

9. The median salary in the North East is more than £10,000 less than in London

Median wage 2013

The Tyne Bridge


Bird's eye view of London Eye and Westminster


10. And just take a look how that wage gap has grown over the years


11. By UK standards, we don't tend to travel too far for work - but those in Northumberland generally face the longest commute

How far do people travel to work in the North East?

ONS/2011 Census

12. Although we're not commuting a long way, we're not big on working from home either. Just 3.6% of those in South Tyneside work from home - one of the lowest totals in the UK

How many people work from home in the North East?

Office for National Statistics

13. Self employment is a growing factor - while the numbers working in the public sector are shrinking in line with Government cuts. These lines have already merged in some parts of the UK

14. Overall, the number of jobs in the region fell between 2010 and 2013 - with a modest growth in the private sector failing to account for the fall in public sector roles

Private sector jobs in the North East







Public sector jobs in the North East







15. But while the number of private sector roles has increased, they still make up a lower proportion of the workforce than any other part of England

Private sector employment

Private Sector Employment Indicator, Q3 2013

16. So how much do our civil servants earn on average? Less than any other part of the UK is the answer

Average civil service pay in the North East compared to other regions

17. And that's because the majority of civil servants employed in the North East sit in the lower ends of the pay scale

How much do civil servants earn in the North East?

18. So does this all mean we're having to work into old age? Not quite - not at the moment, anyway

Economically active pensioners



David Whetstone
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Business Editor
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Sports Writer