Headline data

workNOMIS' Labour Market Profile shows that the employment rate in Gateshead stands at 73.4% of the working age population, recovering from low of 65% in 2010. The gap to national rate of 75.1% 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 13.7%. The next largest are the Manufacturing and Retail sectors, both at 11.6%, followed by the Health sector at 10.5%.[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 0.81 which is well above the wider North East average of 0.73 and not far behind the Great Britain average of 0.86.[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 around 9,000 (6.7%) but 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] 57.8% 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 14,532 (11.4%). Whilst narrowing, this figure remains higher than the England average of 8.1%.[5]

For just under a third, 29% of working age Gateshead residents who are economically inactive, this is due to long term sickness.[1] This is markedly higher than the England (22%) rate.

The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit due to unemployment was 5,635 (4.4%) in April 2019. This is almost 800 more people than one year earlier. The national average is just 2.6%. A fifth (21%) of claimants in Gateshead are younger than 25 years of age.[6]

In 2017 there were 410 young people aged 16-17 in Gateshead who were not in employment, education or training (NEET). This equates to 10.7% of that age group and is significantly worse than the England average of 6.0% [Chart - Not in employment, education or training]. Indicative figures for 2018 suggest the rate will return to 2016 levels.[7]

Median gross weekly pay of full time workers in Gateshead has been consistently lower than national levels. In 2019, the gap in pay to the England average was £93 lower.[8]

moneyAverage gross household income (which includes income from earnings, benefits and investments) in Gateshead for 2019 was £33,679, around £6,100 less than than the UK average of £39,791. Median income in Gateshead was £26,245, compared to the UK median of £31,979, and the lower quartile was £14,690 in Gateshead compared to £17,838 for the UK.[9]

In 2018 there were 5,990 active businesses in the borough.[10] The overall annual business birth figure for 2018 was 765. However, there were 655 business deaths in the same year. Gateshead has a 92% one year survival rate for newly born businesses, above the UK average of 89%. The five year survival rate in Gateshead is 39%, compared with a UK average of 42%.

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


[1] Labour Supply, Annual Population Survey, ONS, Oct 17 - Sep 18 (NOMIS website)

[2] Business Register and Employment Survey, ONS 2018 (NOMIS website)

[3] Jobs Density, ONS 2017 (NOMIS website)

[4] Gateshead Council, Economic Development Service, 2019

[5] Out of Work Benefit Claimants, Working Age Claimants, DWP, Nov 2018 (Stat-Xplore website)

[6] Jobseekers Allowance and Univeral Credit Claimants (Claimant Count), DWP, Apr 2019 (NOMIS website)

[7] 16-18 NEET, DfE, 2017 (PHOF website)

[8] Median Gross Weekly Pay of Full Time Workers, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, ONS, 2019 (NOMIS website)

[9] Household Income, Paycheck, CACI 2019

[10] Business Demography, ONS, 2018

Last modified on 10th December 2019

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