"The Government should focus on measures to reduce the costs for businesses."
Paul Carbert, Policy Adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “As a snapshot of the current state of the labour market in the North East, the employment statistics released this morning do not make for positive reading.
“The North East has the lowest employment rate and highest unemployment rate of any region. The gap between the employment rate in the North East and the national average has doubled over the past year, and the employment rate in the South West, the best-performing region, is now 9 percentage points higher than the rate in the North East.
“In the most recent Quarterly Economic Survey conducted by the Chamber, members reported a marked slowdown in sales and orders, particularly for exporters, and a fall in confidence about current workforce levels. We frequently hear from members that uncertainty over Brexit is delaying investment and hiring decisions for their businesses and their customers, and the ongoing political impasse is not helping matters.
“The Government should now listen to the concerns raised by our members and focus on measures to reduce the costs for businesses to recruit and train staff.”