Regional unemployment and inactivity

Recent changes in unemployment and economic inactivity rates and levels in the North East region

The most up to date headline sub-national labour market statistics in England are for the nine regions, where the North East is made up of the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas. The monthly regional release gives data for a three-month period that ended six to seven weeks earlier. The equivalent releases for LEP and local authority areas only provide  statistics for a 12-month period and are released quarterly with a greater time lag. 

The unemployment rate measures the percentage of economically active that are unemployed. The latest regional unemployment statistics are for November 2020 to January 2021. During that three-month period:

  • The North East had the second highest unemployment rate among the English regions (6.2 per cent, England 5.1 per cent)
  • the rate was the same as a year earlier but 0.9 percentage points higher than in the February to April 2020 quarter
  • there were an additional 10,300 unemployed people in the region compared to nine months earlier
  • the North East was one of five regions where the latest rate was lower than in the previous quarter
  • the latest rate in the region was higher among men (7.0 per cent) than women (5.3 per cent)
  • the rate was much higher among 18 to 24 year olds (16.0 per cent) than in other age groups
  • more than a fifth of economically active 18 to 24 year old men in the North east region were unemployed
  • the unemployment rate for those aged 50 to 64 was higher than for those aged 35 to 49 (4.8 per cent compared to 3.4 per cent)

The monthly regional labour market release includes information about economically inactive people, who are not in employment but are also not currently actively seeking a job and cannot therefore be classified as unemployed. Reasons why working age people are inactive include sickness, caring responsibilities, being a full-time student and early retirement. During the November 2020 to January 2021 period:

  • The North East had the highest working-age economic inactivity rate among the English regions (23.8 per cent, England 20.4 per cent)
  • the rate was 0.4 percentage points higher than a year earlier but 1.2 percentage points higher than in the February to April 2020 quarter
  • there were an additional 19,500 working-age economically inactive people in the region compared to nine months earlier
  • the latest working-age rate in the region was higher among women (26.4 per cent) than men (19.9 per cent)
  • the rate was highest for the oldest and youngest age groups (30.3 and 28.0 per cent, respectively, for those aged 50 to 64 and 18 to 24)
  • men were more likely than women to be inactive among 18 to 24 year olds, with the reverse true in the other three age groups

Comparing the latest official regional estimates of levels of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity with those of an earlier three-month period gives an indication of net changes in the labour market status (where known) of different age groups during 2020.  

In the North East region, in the year to Nov 2020-Jan 2021:

  • Among women, employment decreased by 5,600, unemployment increased by 4,100 and working age economic inactivity increased by 3,500 
  • in contrast, among men, employment increased by 2,500, unemployment decreased by 6,100 and working age inactivity increased by 1,900 
  • there was a particularly large fall in employment among women aged 35 to 49
  • the largest increases in employment were among women aged 25 to 34 and men aged 35 to 49
  • there were large increases in unemployment among men aged 50 to 64 and women aged under 35
  • the biggest fall in unemployment was among men aged under 25
  • the largest increases in inactivity were among women aged 35 to 64 and men aged under 35
  • there were large decreases in inactivity among women aged 25 to 34 and men aged 35 to 49.

Unemployment rate since early 2020, English regions

Last updated:
24/03/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, data via Nomis, last updated 23 Mar 2021]

Data information: Unemployment rate expressed as a percentage of economically active adults. Based on English regions.

Seasonally adjusted.


Unemployment rate by age, North East region

Last updated:
24/03/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, last updated 23 Mar 2021]

Data information: Unemployment rate expressed as a percentage of economically active adults. 

Not seasonally adjusted. Official statistics: not designated as National Statistics due to small sample sizes.

The North East region includes the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas.


Economic inactivity rate since early 2020, English regions

Last updated:
24/03/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, data via Nomis, last updated 23 Mar 2021]

Data information: Economic inactivity rate expressed as a percentage of the population aged 16 to 64. Based on English regions.

Seasonally adjusted.


Economic inactivity rate by age, North East region

Last updated:
24/03/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, last updated 23 Mar 2021]

Data information: Economic inactivity rate expressed as a percentage of all in the specific age group. 

Not seasonally adjusted. Official statistics: not designated as National Statistics due to small sample sizes.

The North East region includes the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas.


Net changes in the labour market since early 2020, by age group, North East region

Last updated:
24/03/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, last updated 23 Mar 2021] North East LEP analysis.

Data information: Not seasonally adjusted. Official statistics: not designated as National Statistics due to small sample sizes.

The North East region includes the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas.

Net changes do not sum to zero because of movements between age groups and exclusions of people with an unknown labour market status.