Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “These statistics show our employment rate is now at a record high which is a great testament to all of the hard work and determination of our North East businesses. It is also excellent news that the gap between the North East employment rate and the national average has been closing.

“We have called on the Government to ensure that rising employment is sustainable and translated into long-term gains for productivity.  Our members need them to invest in improvements to transport infrastructure in the North East, give greater flexibility on apprenticeships and training, commit to stable funding for technical education, and improve careers advice.”