Regional unemployment and inactivity

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

Quarterly regional data provide the most up to date picture of labour markets within England. There are nine English regions and the North East region is made up of the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas. The data is released each month and covers a three-month period that ended six to seven weeks earlier.

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

  • The North East had the second highest unemployment rate among the English regions (5.2%, England excluding London 4.2%)
  • the rate was lower than in Dec 2019-Feb 2020, when it was 5.6%, one of only two regions where the rate fell
  • the rate had risen to 6.6% in Jun 2020-Aug 2020 before dropping back
  • the latest rate in the region was much higher among men (6.5%) than women (4.3%)
  • the rate was also much higher among 16 to 24 year olds (13.4%) than in other age groups
  • the rate was higher among men than women in all age groups except 35 to 49 year olds.

The economic inactivity rate measures 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 June to August 2021 period:

  • The North East had the highest working-age economic inactivity rate among the English regions (24.5%, England excluding London 20.8%)
  • the rate was 1.4 percentage points higher than in the Dec 2019-Feb 2020 period, compared to +1.0 in England excluding London
  • the latest working-age rate in the region was higher among women (27.5%) than men (21.9%)
  • the rate was highest for the youngest and oldest age groups (33.6% and 32.2%, respectively, for those aged 18 to 24 and 50 to 64)
  • the male and female rates among 18 to 24 year olds were similar, but the female rate was higher 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 since early 2020.  

In the North East region, between Dec 19-Feb 20 and Jun 21-Aug 21:

  • Decreases in employment were largest among women aged 35 to 49 and men aged 16 to 24 and 50 to 64
  • employment increased most among women aged 25 to 34 and men aged 35 to 49 and 65 plus
  • the largest increases in unemployment were among women  aged 35 to 49 and both men and women aged 25 to 34
  • the largest decreases in unemployment were among people aged under 25 and men aged 50 to 64
  • economic inactivity increased for all groups except women aged 25 to 34 and men aged 35 to 49.

 The equivalent data release for LEP and local authority areas only provides statistics for a 12-month period and are released quarterly with a greater time lag.

Unemployment rate, 2019, 2020 and 2021, English regions

Last updated:
01/12/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin / Nomis, last updated 16 Nov 2021]

Data information: Unemployment rate expressed as a percentage of the economically active adult population. Based on the nine English regions. The North East region includes the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas.

Seasonally adjusted.


Unemployment rate by age, North East region

Last updated:
21/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, last updated 12 Oct 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, 2019, 2020 and 2021, English regions

Last updated:
01/12/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin / Nomis, last updated 16 Nov 2021]

Data information: Economic inactivity rate expressed as a percentage of the population aged 16 to 64. Based on the nine English regions. The North East region includes the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas.

Seasonally adjusted.


Economic inactivity rate by age, North East region

Last updated:
21/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, last updated 12 Oct 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:
21/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, last updated 12 Oct 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.


Labour Market status by age, North East region, comparison with early 2020

Last updated:
21/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: Labour market in the regions of the UK [ONS Statistical bulletin, last updated 12 Oct 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.