Today's labour market numbers make grim reading for those of us in the North East of England. There are now 12,000 more people officially unemployed than last quarter, taking the unemployment rate in the region to 9.2%.
It's obviously a challenging time for the people involved but I'd urge a dispaassionate look at the comparisons with the UK averages. Unusually, the North East seems to holding up a little better than the UK more generally in this recession.
But, as the more dour economists and commentators love to remind us, unemployment is a 'lagging indicator' - wonkspeak for there is worse to come. But with more businesspeople sharing with me their cautious opionion that the worst may be over - 'from panic to anxiety' was the most apt phrase used - lets hope we can get the investment and confidence back in to North East business to put the unemployment stats into reverse.