West Midlands unemployment now highest of all regions

Office for National Statistics logoLatest data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that unemployment has increased to 8.4 per cent in the West Midlands – higher than any other English region – as 36,000 more people became unemployed in the quarter from November 2008 to February 2009.

The unemployment rate has now increased by 2.4 percentage points on the same period last year, and 1.4 percentage points on the previous quarter. Employment has declined by 2.8 percentage points in the year February 2008 to February 2009 and is declining at a rate almost three times the national rate of 1.0 percentage points.

The employment rate in the region is now the second lowest at 70.7%, with 85,000 fewer people in employment in the quarter December 2008-February 2009 than the same period a year ago, and 35,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

There has been a corresponding rise in claimants of unemployment benefits: The region’s claimant count increased by 7,400 people in the month from February-March 2009 resulting in a claimant rate of 6.1% – second only to the North East. There are now 167,400 claimants in the region – up from 94,600 a year ago. This represents an increase of 77% on last year.

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