West Midlands employment rate stabilises

Office for National StatisticsLatest labour market data published today by the Office for National Statistics shows that the West Midlands’ employment rate has stabilised at 70.0%.

The region’s level of unemployment has fallen by 14,000. However, this seems to be due to people becoming economically inactive rather than entering employment. Previous quarters saw many people in the region moving from economic inactivity to unemployment, mainly due to many of those who were looking after the family or home beginning to look for work, so this could represent a reversal of that trend.

The region’s rate of unemployment has fallen by 0.4% to 10.0%, but is still substantially higher than the England unemployment rate of 7.9%.

The claimant count of those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has also stabilised at 186,100, with a slight increase of 800.This is seasonally adjusted data. The non-seasonally adjusted data for the West Midlands shows a more positive trend, with slight decreases in the claimant count across the region.

Youth unemployment

  • 1 in 10 young people claiming JSA
  • 1 in 6 young people ILO unemployed

The region’s youth claimant count has fallen slightly, with 865 fewer 18-24 year olds claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in October than September, taking the claimant rate from 11.1% to 10.9%.

The number of young people aged 16-24 who are ILO unemployed (i.e actively seeking and available for work, regardless of whether they claim JSA or not), rose slightly by 1,700 over the quarter June to September 2009, representing a significant slowing of the rate of  increase.

The previous rapid increases in youth unemployment mean the rates remain high: ILO unemployment rate (as a proportion of economically active) for age 16-24 is now 26%, down from 27% on the previous quarter. 16.9% of people aged 16-24, or 1 in 6, were ILO unemployed in the region in the quarter June to September.

For further analysis of this week’s data and what it means for the region, see our monthly update page.

Slowing of the decline

Overall, this month’s data release provides the region with some positive news – the employment rate has stopped falling, and claimant rates seem to be levelling off.

Further analysis will tell us why people have moved into economic inactivity – the Observatory will produce an update report on the impact of the recession on the region’s population in the next two weeks.

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