Nick Palmer, senior labour market statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said:
The latest unemployment rate is 7.2%, down 0.4 on the previous quarter.
This is a comparison between the July-September and October-December three-month periods.
It is higher than last month's published figure of 7.1% for September-November.
However, it is not directly comparable with the figure published this month, as the Labour Force Survey is not designed to measure monthly changes.
The main conclusion that should be drawn from these latest figures is that the rate at which unemployment has been falling is likely to have slowed down.
Regional unemployment fiugures between October and December were as follows:
- North East: 130,000 (minus 3,000) 10%
- North West: 277,000 (minus 6,000) 8.1%
- Yorkshire/Humber: 240,000 (minus 8,000) 8.6%
- East Midlands: 162,000 (minus 4,000) 6.9%
- West Midlands: 226,000 (minus 31,000) 8.3%
- East of England: 180,000 (minus 1,000) 5.7%
- London: 351,000 (minus 25,000) 8.1%
- South East: 233,000 (minus 37,000) 5.1%
- South West: 177,000 (plus 3,000) 6.5%
- Wales: 105,000 (minus 12,000) 7.1%
- Scotland: 195,000 (minus 3,000) 7.1%
- Northern Ireland: 64,000 (plus 1,000) 7.4%
Unemployment in the North East fell by 3,000 in the three months to December.
The Office for National Statistics figures show 130,000 people were unemployed in the region between October and December.
The region's unemployment rate was 10% and it had a fall of 2.3% during that time. Unemployment nationally has continued to fall and a record number of women are in work. Employment now stands at more than 30 million, a rate of 72.1%, which is 0.6% higher than a year ago.
More people are claiming benefits in the North East than anywhere else. 5.8% of people are claiming.
The employment rate in the North East is lower than anywhere else in Great Britain. It stands at 67.4%
10% of people in the North East are unemployed. This is the highest rate of unemployment in the UK.