Figures released this morning have revealed that unemployment in the North East has hit 11.3% - higher than any other part of the UK.
The rate of unemployment in the North East has been registered as the highest for any region since the 3-month period to November 1996.
Nationally the figures are little better, with unemployment rising by 114,000 in the last quarter to a 17 year high of 2.57 million.
Both the inactivity and claimant count rates were also highest in the North East, reaching 26.5% and 7.3% respectively. Employment in the region also decreased by 0.7%.
NECC Chief executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “While incredibly disappointing, these results do not come as a huge surprise with the impact of the global economic crisis, public sector cuts and the slowdown in economic growth seriously affecting the jobs market, particularly in the North East.
“Unemployment has not been higher in absolute terms since 1994. Today’s figures reinforce the need for additional Government support to help the private sector create jobs by bringing forward more radical tax incentives for employment and training, cutting red tape and reducing the legal and administrative burdens hampering business growth.
Commenting on the latest labour market statistics, Graeme Leach, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors, added:
“These are grim figures, and are likely to get worse before they get better. But abandoning the deficit reduction plan will do the unemployed no favours.
“The hope is that QE2 will lift the money supply and economic activity, but the ongoing eurocrisis is pushing the UK towards a double-dip with increasing speed.
“All this is before the threat of contagion has actually materialised. We are sailing in stormy seas.”
James Ramsbotham added: “NECC is doing all it can to help tackle unemployment.
“We are helping members open up overseas markets, creating profitable relationships within our own business community and addressing youth unemployment through our apprenticeships programme.”