More than 10 unemployed people are chasing every job advertised in some parts of northern England, a union has revealed.
According to research by public sector union Unison there are 16.9 unemployed people for every job advertised in Hartlepool Borough Council's remit.
In South Tyneside and Middlesbrough council areas there are more than 12.
The report comes ahead of the government Spending Review which many fear will stunt the economy.
There has been much speculation over where the chancellor will make the cuts - with one report suggesting that on top of public sector job losses, there could be almost 500,000 private sector roles lost because of the knock-on effect.
Unison has warned the cost of lost tax revenue and increased take up of unemployment benefits for the 725,000 public sector workers whose jobs are at risk, would mean a £15bn bill for taxpayers.
The union says the cost for supporting unemployed private sector workers will add billions more.
Gill Hale, regional secretary for Unison in the Northern region, said: "Even now, before the major public spending cuts have hit home, there are more people unemployed than jobs to go around.
"Drastic reductions in spending, set to be outlined in the CSR, will lay the groundwork for adding upwards of a million more public and private sector workers to the job loss totals.
"Heavy job losses in the private and public sector will only lock the northern region into a downwards spiral until the much-feared double dip recession takes hold.
"It will also cost the taxpayer billions in increased benefits and lost tax, and will be deeply regressive - study after study proves the coalition's cuts will hit the poorest in our society hardest."