Paul Carbert, North East England Chamber of Commerce policy adviser said: “The employment statistics released this morning show a slightly more negative picture than we have seen for the past few months, with a slight decrease in employment in the North East, while the general pattern nationally has been relatively flat for both employment and unemployment.
“These results are in line with our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2016, which showed employers were less positive about workforce growth than in previous quarters.
“We have called on the Government to use the opportunity of the upcoming Budget to support a Working North East, and ensure that the progress made on reducing unemployment last year is not lost.”
Commenting on the figures, Alistair Sutherland, managing director, of Chamber member Synthesis-IT, a business computing consultancy based in North Shields, said: “We are continuing to grow our business with a good mixture of retained and new clients which means we are keen to recruit new members to our team. These figures represent a clear picture of how challenging we see the North East labour market at present. Our view is that there is an urgent need for more appropriately skilled workers in our sector to enable us to exploit all the opportunities we have in the pipeline.”