The number of people in work in the North East has risen over the last three months, although the real value of pay continues to decline, new figures show.
The UK's employment rate is now at a joint record high of 75.3%, reported the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
North East unemployment stands at 68,000 or 5.2% - a fall of 7,000 over the quarter and 20,000 over the year. This compares to a rate of 4.3% nationally.
Nationally, unemployment fell by 3,000 to 1.44 million, which is 160,000 lower than a year ago.
The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, taken early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 79,000 to 8.7 million, the lowest since the winter of 2000-01.
Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: