April 2009 briefing on economic downturn’s impact on skills and labour market in the West Midlands

Briefing coverThe West Midlands Regional Observatory has produced its third quarterly briefing monitoring the impact of the economic downturn on skills and the labour market.

The overall picture is one of continued decline but with the first tentative indications of some improvement. This is reflected in the decreases in the rate of job losses expected, at least in the service sector.

It is also notable that over 60% of firms are maintaining their investment in training budgets at present levels.

Perhaps more significantly, it is now increasingly possible to see those areas that are proving more resilient to the downturn, a development that will help to focus re-training and up-skilling initiatives.

For example, there are significant increases in the number of claimants unemployed with previous experience in occupations where job vacancies also continue to increase. It will be essential to match this pool of experience and knowledge with the requirements of the jobs available, facilitated by additional training where necessary.

It’s notable that although many areas of the job market are continuing to feel the strain, there are sectors which are not only proving resilient to the worst effects of the downturn but actually increasing the numbers of jobs available.

The public administration, education & health sector is reporting a 50% increase in vacancies, particularly in the education, health & social care sub-sectors.

Certain professional sectors are also reporting increases in available jobs, notably teachers and nurses.

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