The North East still has the highest unemployment rates in the country, but there is better news in Billingham, where the international firm SNF has submitted plans to build a new oil plant, which would create 250 new jobs.
More top news
High street chain Greggs has said it plans to ramp up shop openings over the year ahead after a solid performance in 2017.
Work has halted on a high-profile regeneration scheme in the North East following the collapse of Carillion.
Flu and norovirus continue to affect hospitals in the North East.