Rising unemployment: West Midlands is the worst affected region

Office for National Statistics logoThe West Midlands has been hardest hit by the recession, has seen the biggest rise in unemployment and is the first region in England where the unemployment rate has topped 10%.

New Labour Market Statistics (PDF, 328kb) released on 15th July 2009 by the Office for National Statistics show the unemployment rate in the West Midlands increased to 10.3% in the quarter to May 2009.

There are now more than a quarter of a million (276,000) people in the region out of work. Since the previous quarter, a further 52,000 people in the region have become unemployed.

At 10.3% the unemployment rate in the West Midlands is over 2.5 percentage points higher than the average rate for England of 7.7%.

Over the last year, the unemployment rate has increased by 4.1 percentage points in the region. This is the biggest increase of all the regions and nearly double the rate of increase for England.

Claimant count

The claimant count—the narrower measure of unemployment based on the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance—has also increased in the region, although in the last couple of months the rate of increase has slowed.

The claimant count is now available up to June 2009 and stands at 177,200 people in the West Midlands. In May and June the monthly increase in claimants was less than 3,000 for the first time since July 2008.

Young people

Young people have been particularly badly affected by the recession.

In the West Midlands nearly 1 in 10 young people aged between 18 and 24 are out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, the number of young claimants has started to decrease slightly over the last couple of months.

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