The North East’s employment rate has fallen to 70.8% from record highs last year of 73.5%, as the national employment rate continues to rise.
The employment data released this morning shows three UK regions have an unemployment rate of below 3%, as the North East unemployment rate shows a slight fall to 5.3%, but remains the highest in the country.
North East England Chamber of Commerce Policy Adviser Paul Carbert said: "Our region’s labour market continues to lag behind the rest of country, reinforcing the need for a targeted response from the Government.
"Respondents to our Quarterly Economic Survey have highlighted the rising cost of employment, and uncertainty over Brexit causing a reduction in cashflow and a delay to investment decisions, as barriers to taking on more staff.
"There are also unresolved issues with the apprenticeship reforms introduced two years ago which have resulted in a drop in apprenticeship starts, and we will continue to campaign for the Government to improve the apprenticeship system for businesses."