Jonathan Walker, assistant director of policy, North East England Chamber of Commerce said:
“As we have seen over recent months, the headline figures for employment in our region continue to hold up, supported to a large extent by the Government’s furlough scheme. Yet we know that swathes of our economy continue to struggle due to the pandemic and that unemployment is likely to worsen as that scheme comes to an end.
“The monthly claimant count paints a more realistic picture of the state of our jobs market, hitting the symbolic level of 10% in July. There are now 52,000 more claimants in our region than this time last year, which demonstrates the impact coronavirus has already had on the economy.
“We have repeatedly warned the Government that the downturn has the potential to fall hard on our region. While we may be in the summer holiday period, for many of our businesses this is simply the calm before the storm. Action is needed immediately to support sectors most at risk when the furlough scheme ends and to boost confidence in regions that should be priorities for ‘levelling up’.”