Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group has been gathering data and intelligence to inform our region’s response to the crisis.
Using this information we’ve been able to support the economy, build resilience and prepare for our region’s recovery. Most recently, we submitted our ambitious Recovery and Renewal Deal for the North East to government, asking for a £2.8bn investment to unlock half of the 100,000 more jobs we need to support the North East’s quick recovery from the pandemic.
Going forward we will be publishing the evidence base so people in the North East can see how living with coronavirus is impacting jobs, the economy, and businesses in the North East.
The first intelligence report to be published covers the period June to end of September 2020. It provides an overview of the economic data available at the time from a number of sources; taking into account that many of the usual sources of data we might use have been disrupted. Alongside official data, it reviews a number of experimental surveys produced by the Office of National Statistics and regionally generated data from surveys and intelligence gathering.
It highlights the sectors in the North East that have suffered the greatest impact from the coronavirus pandemic, and those that are helping our recovery by sustaining demand. Arts and culture, tourism, retail and hospitality are some of the sectors that have suffered the worst, whist businesses in digital and tech, offshore wind and pharmaceuticals, to name a few, have continued to perform well.
It also looks at how government support packages like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-employment Income Support Grant have helped keep people in employment. Around 267,000 people in the North East were furloughed during March and 31 July and 54,600 self-employed people claimed the first Self-employment Income Support Grant.
Like the rest of the UK, the North East has suffered redundancies as a result of the pandemic with an increase seen amongst low-skilled, low-paid workers, and 16-24 year olds. This report looks at on how the end of government support packages like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme may impact employment figures in quarter four. Young people in particular need to be supported to either stay in education or move into employment. The Kickstart Scheme is one of the ways government is addressing the issue.
Importantly, the report also looks at future employment scenarios and where we can create more and better jobs to aid our recovery. Sectors like energy, health and social care, and pharmaceuticals and life sciences are expected to see an increase in demand for skilled talent.
We’re also monitoring opportunities for our region and how we can capitalise on changes brought about by the pandemic, particularly the rise in digital adoption, which is something all sectors of industry have experienced.
As well as publishing regular intelligence reports about the North East economy as a whole, we’ll also be working with our partners to publish some sector specific reports; providing an in-depth look at how the coronavirus pandemic has affected certain industries.
All the reports will be published on this page of the North East Data Hub and shared through the North East LEP’s social media platforms. If anyone has any specific questions about the data and our findings, please email [email protected].
The next intelligence report will be published in December and will cover the period October-November 2020.
By Richard Baker, Strategy and Policy Director, North East Local Enterprise Partnership.