Jonathan Walker, assistant director, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “Today’s figures largely show a continuation of what we saw last month with our unemployment rate continuing to be one of the highest in the country and reflecting the problem of regional economic disparities. We are also still waiting for the full economic impact of Coronavirus to be reflected in the data.
“The Government’s Job Retention Scheme continues to have a welcome, but distorting, affect on these numbers. The scheme has successfully provided an alternative to many redundancies, but as it comes to an end later in the year we must be prepared for the region’s unemployment rate to climb. The massive increase in our claimant count over the past 12 months is likely to be indicator of what is to come.
“The Chancellor’s statement last week aimed to provide further support for jobs, but it was nowhere near enough. We will not find a way out of this crisis through short term measures alone. Immediate action to support the rhetoric around ‘levelling up’ would help to give businesses the confidence they need to invest in recruitment and training in the months ahead.”