Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter July-August 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.
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West Midlands sees large fall in unemployment

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).

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Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter May/June 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.

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ONS release revised local authority population estimates for 2002 to 2008

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released revised mid-2002 to mid-2008 population estimates for local authorities in England and Wales. The revisions have been produced as a result of improvements to ONS  methodology, introduced as part of the cross-government Migration Statistics Improvement Programme.

The new population estimates use an enhanced method for apportioning migrants to local authorities incorporating modelling using up-to-date survey and administrative data. Higher Education Statistics Agency data is utilised to improve estimates of student internal migration.

ONS have produced a population estimates analysis tool to help users understand the main patterns and trends in the population estimates. Users can select specific areas of interest and compare local estimates across time and with estimates at higher levels of geography.

Data users are also able to select specific age groups and view the components of population change for the chosen area.

Mid-2009 population estimates will be published on 24th June 2010, and will be based upon the new methodology.

Visit the ONS website for more information.

ONS Local Profiles data CD now available

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) have created and made available to data users a free CD with local data profiles.

These Local Profiles have been developed by the ONS Centre for Regional and Local Statistics and represent a significant milestone in providing local authorities with the means to gain value from official statistics. They will help authorities to better understand the economic, social and environmental picture for their area.

The first set of Profiles are included as part of an ONS toolkit, available on CD, that will be of great value to local authorities when preparing their Local Economic Assessments (LEA), in addition to many other users of official statistics.

Key LEA contacts in local authorities will shortly receive the CD by mail.

The toolkit also contains commuting data, the small area Change over Time Analysis Viewer, Inter Departmental Business Register data, and the Atlas of Deprivation.

Find out more information about the free Local Profiles CD from the ONS, or email better.info@ons.gov.uk.

Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids event roundup

The Observatory and Regional Action West Midlands jointly organised Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids, an event held in Birmingham on 19th March.

The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of evidence in funding applications. 50 delegates from a range of voluntary and public sector organisations attended the day.

This post rounds up videos, presentation slides, links and reaction to the event.

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2011 Census Output Geography Consultation

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) are holding a consultation on the 2011 Census Output Geography policy.

Dr Ray Perrins from the South West Observatory has volunteered to respond on behalf of the Association of Regional Observatories.

There are three main topics:

  1. A new geography for improved reporting of business statistics and statistics relating to the workplace
  2. An upper layer of Super Output Areas (USOAs)
  3. A request for exceptional instances of current Output Areas and Super Output Areas, as designed for 2001, that do not fit present criteria for statistical zones

However, the consultation also provides an opportunity for you to comment on any aspect of the current 2011 Census Output Geography policy.

If you’re involved in the Regional Observatories and would like anything to be included in any response from the Association of Regional Observatories, please contact Dr Ray Perrins at the South West Observatory. Please get responses to Ray by Monday, 22nd March 2010.

However, the consultation is open to everyone, including members of the public. ONS suggest on their site that:

Government departments, unitary, county and district councils, metropolitan boroughs and other large census user organisations should discuss their requirements internally before making a joint submission.

How to make a submission and contact details are available on the ONS consultation page.

Regional gross value added (GVA) estimates for 2008 indicate the West Midlands produced below average growth

Office for National StatisticsThe 2008 Regional and 2007 Sub-Regional Gross Value Added (GVA) data (PDF, 143kb) are released today by the Office for National Statistics.

Indexed GVA per head (where UK=100) for the West Midlands in 2008 was 85.1, a marginal decrease from the revised 2007 index value of 85.4.

GVA per head in the West Midlands rose from £17,000 in 2007 to £17,500 in 2008, an increase of 2.5% compared to a 2.9% increase in GVA per head across the UK, and a 2.7% increase in England.

In the latest data for 2008 the West Midlands GVA per head is ranked seventh amongst the nine English regions. London is the strongest performer at £34,800 and the North East is the least strong at £15,900.

In total, regional GVA for the West Midlands in 2008 was £94.5bn, an increase of £2.8bn on the revised figures for 2007.

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2011 Census and migration statistics roadshows

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics are holding a series of roadshows in December 2009 to communicate the latest work being carried out to improve population statistics through the 2011 Census and the Improving Migration and Population Statistics projects.

There’s an event in Birmingham on Thursday, 3rd December at the International Convention Centre.

The Census seminars will outline progress on planning and executing the 2011 Census and focus on the methodology for assessing coverage and subsequent quality assurance of the census estimates.

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West Midlands employment rate stabilises

Office for National StatisticsLatest labour market data published today by the Office for National Statistics shows that the West Midlands’ employment rate has stabilised at 70.0%.

The region’s level of unemployment has fallen by 14,000. However, this seems to be due to people becoming economically inactive rather than entering employment. Previous quarters saw many people in the region moving from economic inactivity to unemployment, mainly due to many of those who were looking after the family or home beginning to look for work, so this could represent a reversal of that trend.

The region’s rate of unemployment has fallen by 0.4% to 10.0%, but is still substantially higher than the England unemployment rate of 7.9%.

The claimant count of those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has also stabilised at 186,100, with a slight increase of 800. Continue reading

Roundup of Census 2011 outputs event in Leicester

Office for National Statistics logoLast Thursday, I attended a Census 2011 outputs event.  It was hosted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in Leicester, and covered a range of Census-related topics.

I’ve highlighted key points from the event in this post.

The biggest proposed change to the Census in 2011, compared to 2001, is to open up access to the data. ONS want to move away from static tables towards dynamic tables, such as data cubes, that allow researchers to interrogate data more.

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Invitation to ONS 2011 Census outputs consultation event in Leicester

Office for National Statistics logoThe next full census of England and Wales will take place in 2011. It includes a number of new approaches which will be evaluated during a rehearsal on 11th October 2009 with around 135,000 selected households in three local authority areas.

The Census Rehearsal will test, among other things, the questions being asked, the accuracy of the address list for posting out questionnaires and the new internet services for getting help and completing questionnaires online.

Planning and preparation for the outputs from the 2011 Census is continuing with a series of roadshows in October 2009 to formally start the consultation on outputs.

Along with the original event locations across England, an additional event will now be held at the Marriott Hotel in Leicester on Monday 12th October Thursday 22nd October.

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ONS article investigates economic productivity in urban versus rural areas

Office for National Statistics logoContrasts in the economic productivity of urban versus rural local authorities, and the factors contributing to the varying performance of the economies of English regions, are both the subject of an article in the latest edition of Economic & Labour Market Review.

The article in the ONS publication takes a detailed look at Gross Value Added per filled job (GVA per job) statistics for groups of local authorities in each English region, using DEFRA classifications (PDF, 52kb) which group local authorities according to their urban/rural composition characteristics.

In the West Midlands region and among the six local authority classifications, ‘Major Urban’ local authorities (for example, Birmingham) were found to be the most productive, with GVA per job averaging an indexed value of 90.4 (where England=100) for 2004 to 2006. However, this represented a noteworthy decline from the value of 95.8 recorded in 2001 to 2003.

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West Midlands population increased to over 5.4 million in 2008

Office for National Statistics logoThe population of the West Midlands grew to over 5.4 million in 2008, according to the latest population estimates released by the Office for National Statistics.

With a population of 5.411 million, the region’s population grew by 0.5% (29,000) on the preceding year.

Natural change (births minus deaths) was the most significant contributor to the growth at 20,000, whereas net migration accounted for the remainder (9,000).

Locally within the West Midlands region, the most significant increases in population (in absolute terms) were recorded in Birmingham (up 7,000 to 1.017 million), and Coventry (up 3,000 to 310,000). With an increase in population on the preceding year of 1%, Coventry also recorded the largest rate of increase.

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ONS Regional Trends report puts regions under the spotlight

Office for National Statistics logoYoung people aged 16 and 17 in the West Midlands were more likely to not be in employment, education or training (NEET) than any other UK region in 2007.

This is just one of the findings of the latest annual ONS Regional Trends report.

Children and young people are the lead article in this year’s publication. There are also articles on women in business, statistical snapshots of the UK regions, and an in-depth profiling of selected English regions.

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