Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “The latest figures released this morning show a small increase in unemployment in our region over the previous three months, but an increase in the employment rate over the past year. The North East has seen the greatest fall in unemployment of any region over the last 12 months. Although the recent results are not as positive as previous months, we are still in a much better place than we were a year ago.

“Our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q2 2017 has shown that our members are positive about future workforce growth, and recruiting for permanent, full time roles. Almost half of the Chamber members responding to our 2017 Workforce Survey said that they have faced skills or labour shortages over the past 12 months. This indicates a need to align training and upskilling programmes, with business aspirations to open up opportunities for jobseekers. We will be calling for the Government to make this a priority in the upcoming Autumn Budget.”

Angela Wright, HR Officer, of Seaham-based Prima Cheese, a Chamber member which exports its products all over the world said: “The annual figures confirm our own experience. Since joining Prima in June 2015 our workforce has increased to 106 employees from 54 employees. In the past year alone our headcount has increased by 27%.

We are currently in a continuing period of business growth and to support this we are installing a further production line, in addition to our existing three and we expect to increase our team by a further 15% by April 2018.

Not only will permanent positions be created in our production area but we will also be creating roles in all departments to support with the increase in production levels.”

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