West Midlands employment rate hits lowest level since 1993

Office for National Statistics logoThe latest unemployment data released by the Office for National Statistics today shows the West Midlands continues to be worst affected by the recession.

The employment rate in the West Midlands has fallen to 69.9%, dipping below 70% for the first time since 1993.

There are now 100,000 fewer people in employment in the region than at the beginning of 2008. The employment rate has fallen faster than elsewhere and the gap between the West Midlands and England continues to grow.

The regional picture

The West Midlands has the highest unemployment rate of any English region, with the rate of 10.5% being over one percentage point higher than any other English region and much higher than the average rate for England (8.0%).

There are now 116,000 more unemployed people in the region than there were at the beginning of 2008, taking the total to well over a quarter of a million unemployed (282,000).

Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants

There are now 182,000 people in the West Midlands claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (the unemployment benefit).

This is an increase of nearly 76,000 claimants on the same period a year ago.

The monthly rise (of less than 3,000) is consistent with the increases in the last four months, but is much smaller than some of the monthly increases we saw earlier in the recession.

Thumbnail of interactive map on Jobseeker's Allowance data for local authorities in the West MidlandsSee how the recession has affected each West Midlands local authority district area through our interactive map showing trends in claimant rates in each local authority.

Young people

Young people have been the worst affected age group in this recession, seeing the biggest increases in their unemployment rates.

There are now over 55,000 young people aged 18–24 in the region claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, equating to more than one in ten young people (claimant rate 10.7%). This is the highest youth claimant rate of all the English regions.

In some local authorities (Wolverhampton, Walsall and Sandwell) the youth claimant rate is over 15%, meaning that in these areas nearly one in six young people is unemployed and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

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