Further rise in unemployment in the West Midlands

Office for National Statistics logoUnemployment in the West Midlands reached 285,000 in the three months to June 2009, the highest level since 1994.

Figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show that the unemployment rate in the West Midlands is at 10.6%. This is still the highest rate of all the English regions.

The West Midlands continues to be the region hardest hit by the recession and has seen the biggest increase in unemployment of all the regions.

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New report on making the most of information to improve services

Is there something I should know? report coverThe Audit Commission has published the report Is there something I should know? (PDF, 1.28mb) looking at the way local councils use information to make decisions.

The report’s purpose is to encourage senior members of local councils to be more demanding about the information they seek, and use, during the decision making process.

The report highlighted that:

  • 9 out of 10 councils believe good quality information is a top priority
  • However, less than 5% of councils have excellent quality data
  • 65% of councils face problems sharing data externally
  • 80% of councils say a lack of in-depth analysis is a major problem
  • Two thirds of councils say members struggle to understand information, but half of all councils provide no formal training in the area and almost a quarter provide no support at all

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MG Rover workers: what happened next?

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)The Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham obtained funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to conduct the study Ex-MG Rover workers: 3 years on (PDF, 989kb).

The study consisted of a  survey of 204 ex-workers conducted via telephone in April 2008, along with in-depth interviews of 30 workers and 30 local and regional practioners and policy makers.

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West Midlands culture: an antidote to the downturn?

rolerr-coaster-pic_LAAccording to the latest cultural sector economic snapshot (PDF, 360kb) published this week by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory, culture will have its role to play in the region’s post-recession recovery.

Evidence cited in the new paper suggests that West Midlands residents may be turning to culture as an antidote to the downturn.

Visitor numbers for local visitor attractions have exceeded the national average for both the October–December 2008 and January–March 2009 quarters.

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