Unions warned today that in one northern town there are 42 people chasing every job vacancy.
Newcastle-based Northern TUC, which covers the north-east from the Yorkshire border to Scotland and stretches to the coast of Cumbria, said in its latest joint report with Unionlearn that the economy remains worth around 3.4 per cent less than pre-recession 2008.
It is also around 6.5 per cent below the original Office for Budgetary Responsibility predictions linked to the Chancellor's first budget.
They estimated that it would be at least another eight years before the British economy recovers even to the 2008 level.
"Meanwhile unemployment remains drastically high, with the jobseekers to vacancy ratio continuing to be very challenging.
"This ratio has risen by 26 per cent in Newcastle, Sunderland has the second highest ratio in the country, 42 to 1, while Middlesbrough is seventh-worst."
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.