The regional labour market statistics released this morning show an increasing gap in performance between English regions.
The employment rate in the South West reached 81%, the highest for any region since records began. The employment rate in the North East is 71.2%, the lowest of any region, although the number of people in employment increased over the past year.
Unemployment in the North East rose to 5.9%, with a further 12,000 unemployed compared to the same period last year – the largest increase in the country.
North East England Chamber of Commerce Policy Adviser Paul Carbert said: “The Chamber is calling on all political party leaders to produce a compelling vision for regional growth ahead of the General Election next month.
We will hold the new Government to account on their plans for improving the economy in all parts of the country. We are calling for politicians to give us the powers and the funding to address barriers to growth, and make decisions on infrastructure and skills investment that will benefit North East residents and businesses.”