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."
More top news
Three men have been jailed for a total of 26 years after the court heard how they terrorised vulnerable drivers in Newcastle.
The six-year-old from Newcastle has thanked strangers who paid for his cancer treatment so he could be here to meet his younger sibling.
County Durham topped the list with the highest number of complaints investigated by the RSPCA last year, totalling over three thousand.