Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “The employment statistics released show little change on the previous three months, but steady progress has been made over the past year on increasing employment and reducing unemployment.

The North East region saw the largest increase in the employment rate over the past year, and the largest fall in the unemployment rate. It is positive news that we end 2016 in a significantly better position than last year.

“There is more work to be done to match up skill levels in the workforce with the needs of employers, and the Chamber will be supporting members in 2017 to upskill and retrain experienced workers and open up opportunities for the unemployed.  We need to have a working north east where everyone contributes to our economy.”

A Washington sign making business which specialises in providing promotional point of sale signage for the motor industry, is proof of these figures, expanding with three new jobs and an on-going investment in new digital print machinery.

Husband and wife team Mark and Helen Taylor set up Discount Vehicle Lettering Company (DVLC) 19 years ago and the company now produce work for car manufacturers and both national and regional retail motor groups.

In addition they produce and install vehicle fleet livery for a multitude of SME’s as well as fellow North East England Chamber of Commerce members Vertu Motors PLC (Bristol Steet Motors),Jardine Motors PLC (Lexus Newcastle / Lancaster Toyota, Durham & Sunderland) and Mill Garages North East (Volvo Dealerships)

Mark Taylor said: “We are passionate about giving our clients the best possible service and it has really reaped rewards with repeat business and word of mouth recommendations.  Our new jobs will be in the production and design part of our business, to help with our increased workload.  The new print machinery is also going to be really beneficial as it will boost our capacity, especially for high volume urgent jobs.”

North East England Chamber of Commerce Julie Digman, Essentials Portfolio Manager said: “DVLC is a tremendous business which has grown on the back of providing their clients with consistently flawless designs which deliver sales results.  We are delighted to have a company like them in our membership.”

DVLC’s services include the design and production of point of sale signage for dealership forecourts and showrooms.  They pride themselves in giving clients a quick turnaround and producing point of sale signage which always complies to vehicle brand guidelines.