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workNOMIS' Labour Market Profile shows that the employment rate in Gateshead stands at 73.0% of the working age population, recovering from low of 65% in 2010. The gap to national rate of 74.5% has now closed significantly.[1] The Public Health Outcomes Framework tool provides a useful graphical display of the data, although it is updated less frequently [Chart - Employment rate].

In terms of employees in jobs, Business Administration and Support Services is the largest employment sector in Gateshead at 14.0%. The next largest are the Manufacturing and Retail sectors at 12.9%, followed by the Health sector at 10.8%.[2] This diversity in the borough's employer base has served it well during recent downturns ensuring robustness to economic shocks with the area not overly reliant on just a single sector or a small number of particularly large employers. Manufacturing in Gateshead clearly remains strong including a good number of research and development and precision engineering businesses.

Gateshead has a strong job density figure (number of jobs in an area divided by its resident working age population) of 0.80 which is well above the wider North East average of 0.71 and not far behind the Great Britain average of 0.84.[3] This is a direct reflection of the borough's strengths in major employment sites, notably Team Valley and Metrocentre; along with the diversity and strength of the wider employer base.

Self-employment has added to this and has seen rapid growth since the millennium with the trend being strongly upwards. In 2000 there were approximately 5,000 people self-employed in the borough and this now stands at over 10,000 (7.2%) and compares with a national average of 10.6%. Whilst a major improvement, there is still some way to go to close the gap to the national figures.[1] 59.6% of clients with an interest in working for themselves are currently helped to set up as self-employed following support from the Council.[4]

The split of full to part time employees in Gateshead is 68% to 33%.[2] The strength of local Retail and Health sectors is evident here and especially the flexibility of their working patterns.

Precarious employment is a growing issue in Gateshead just as it is nationally with the rise in casual agency work, zero hours, short hour's contracts and 'enforced' self-employment affecting many.

Out of Work Benefits ClaimantsThe number (and rate) of working age people claiming out of work benefits has been steadily decreasing but still stands at 14,230 (11.2%). Whilst narrowing, this figure remains higher than the England average of 8.1%.[5]

For around a third, 33% of working age Gateshead residents who are economically inactive, this is due to long term sickness.[1] This is markedly higher than the North East (28%) and England (22%) rates. Whilst the data represents only a sample of the total population the local figure has remained largely unchanged for over 10 years and represents a major challenge for the borough and the well-being of its residents.

The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit due to unemployment was 4,790 (3.7%) in May 2018. This is over 1,100 people more than one year earlier. The national average is just 2.1%. A fifth (20%) of claimants are younger than 25 years of age.[6]

In 2016 there were 190 young people aged 16-17 in Gateshead who were not in employment, education or training (NEET). This equates to 5.0% of that age group and is similar to the England average of 6.0% [Chart - Not in employment, education or training].[7]

Median gross weekly pay of full time workers in Gateshead has been consistently lower than national levels. In 2018, the gap in pay to the England average was £97 lower.[8]

moneyAverage gross household income (which includes income from earnings, benefits and investments) in Gateshead for 2017 was £31,199, around £7,500 less than than the UK average of £38,720. Median income in Gateshead was £24,452, compared to the UK median of £30,806, and the lower quartile was £13,534 in Gateshead compared to £16,958 for the UK.[9]

In 2017 there were 6,210 active businesses in the borough.[10] The overall annual business birth figure for 2017 of 1,035 exceeds pre-recession levels and is the largest increase in recent history. There were 745 business deaths in the same year. Gateshead has a 93% one year survival rate for newly born businesses, just above the UK average of 92%. The five year survival rate in Gateshead is 43%, compared with a UK average of 43%.

See also: 'Gateshead Local Economic Assessment' ; 'Gateshead Rural Economic Strategy'


[1] Labour Supply, Annual Population Survey, ONS, Oct 16 - Sep 17 (NOMIS website)

[2] Business Register and Employment Survey, ONS 2017 (NOMIS website)

[3] Jobs Density, ONS 2016 (NOMIS website)

[4] Gateshead Council, Economic Development Service, 2018

[5] Out of Work Benefit Claimants, Working Age Claimants, DWP (NOMIS website)

[6] Jobseekers Allowance and Univeral Credit Claimants (Claimant Count), DWP, May 2018 (NOMIS website)

[7] 16-18 NEET, DfE, 2016 (PHOF website)

[8] Median Gross Weekly Pay of Full Time Workers, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, ONS, 2018 (NOMIS website)

[9] Household Income, Paycheck, CACI 2017

[10] Business Demography, ONS, 2017

Last modified on 3rd December 2018

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