The latest regional labour market statistics (zip, 2.9mb), released by the Office for National Statistics, show a large quarterly fall in the unemployment rate in the West Midlands, down 23,000 people to 230,000 (8.6%) in the quarter to May. This is the largest fall of any English region.
Unemployment in the West Midlands rose sharply at the beginning of the recession and peaked in April to June 2009 at 284,000 people or 10.5% - the highest unemployment rate of any English region.
Since then, unemployment here has fallen, whereas other regions have continued to see a rise. The West Midlands now has the fourth highest unemployment rate of English regions.
There’s also been a fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, the unemployment benefit. The number of claimants in the West Midlands fell to 159,800 in June, a fall of 2,800 people. This is a smaller decrease than in previous months but is 24,800 claimants fewer than the peak in October 2009.
Within the West Midlands, nearly all local authorities have seen a fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance over the last year. The biggest decreases have been in areas like Cannock Chase and Redditch which saw large increases in Jobseeker’s Allowance rates at the beginning of the recession.
Our interactive map shows how Jobseeker’s Allowance rates differ between local authorities.
The fall in unemployment has been accompanied by a rise in employment. The employment rate in the West Midlands is now 71.2% with 31,000 more people in employment than in the previous quarter.
Nationally the rise in employment was largely due to a rise in the number of part-time workers. Data on part-time workers at regional level is only available up to September 2009 (national data are for the quarter to May 2010) but does show that the number of part-time workers in the West Midlands increased during the recession even though the number of people in full-time employment fell.
More information on changes to the labour market during the recession are available in our economic inclusion annual report 2010 (pdf, 929kb).
- Latest employment and unemployment data
- Interactive map: Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in West Midlands by local authority
- Interactive map: Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in West Midlands by ward
- Dataset: Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in West Midlands (xls, 220kb)