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."
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The constituency of Washington and Sunderland West includes the UK's largest car plant, which was opened by Nissan in 1984.
This seat was formed prior to the 2010 General Election, taking in Sunderland city centre and the Ryhope area to the south.
The constituency of Stockton South includes relatively affluent areas like Yarm and Eaglescliffe.