- Tyne Tees
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The North East Chamber of Commerce said it was "surprising and worrying" that the unemployment rate has risen above 10% again in the North East, after a growth in employment throughout 2012.
The organisation, which represents local businesses, said in a statement that employment and unemployment statistics were "heading in the wrong direction" and called for efforts to "ensure that skills levels are improved to help people back into work."
Unemployment has increased by 12,000 in the North East in the three months to February. The figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed a total of 131,000 local people were unemployed.
The unemployment rate in the North East was 10.1% compared with the national rate of 7.9%.