Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter September-October 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis is the last newsletter from ONS West Midlands – the regional statistician service ceased in the West Midlands as of 21 October 2010.

The newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.

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New ONS products to help child poverty analysis

Painting pictures of place series local profiles - centre for regional and local statistics - Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have created three products to assist understanding and analysis of child poverty in a locality, as part of  a collaborative project between the ONS East and West Midlands Regional Statisticians, and ONS Area Based Analysis.

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Unemployment in West Midlands levels off

Job Centre PlusThe labour market figures released September 2010 show a mixed picture for the West Midlands, with increases in employment and decreases in unemployment, but evidence of a slowing of the recovery.

The claimant count reduced by just 600 out of 159,700, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 8.4%.

Worryingly, unemployment and the claimant count seem to be levelling off at a higher level than they were prior to the recession. With the impact of cuts in public spending yet to be seen, this could mean any knock-on effects in the form of future rises in unemployment could wipe out the recovery seen so far.

Key headlines

Unemployment in the West Midlands has fallen again, but the rate of decrease is slowing. There are 226,000 unemployed people in the West Midlands – 13,000 fewer than last quarter, and 58,000 fewer than a year ago. However, in order to return to the July 2008 level of 163,000, we would need to reduce the number of people unemployed by a further 63,000.

The number of people in employment rose by 38,000 over the last quarter. However, there are still fewer people in employment than prior to the recession, and those working part-time now make up a greater proportion of those in employment.

The claimant rate saw a very small decrease of just 600 this month.

Overall the indications are that the falls in unemployment are beginning to level off. Furthermore, the upcoming public sector cuts and the knock-on effects in the private sector are likely to result in renewed increases in unemployment.

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Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter July-August 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.
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Unemployment in West Midlands fallen but still not back to pre-recession levels

Updated monthly data on the West Midlands labour market were released today by the Office for National Statistics.

Key headlines

  • Unemployment in the West Midlands has fallen — by 66,000 people over the last year, and 27,000 people in the last quarter. There are, however, 59,000 more unemployed people in the West Midlands than in February 2008.
  • Unemployment has fallen faster in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the country over the last year and in the last quarter. However, unemployment rose more sharply here than elsewhere earlier in the recession, so essentially this is a rebalancing of employment levels.
  • We’re not out of the woods yet. Employment levels have not yet reached their pre-​recession levels, and we’re expecting a significant loss of public sector jobs in the coming months, which could wipe out the recent drop in unemployment altogether.

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Local tourism industries generate over 6% of the region’s total economic output

According to an analysis by the Tourism Intelligence Unit at Office for National Statistics, the economic output (‘GVA’) generated by West Midlands-based tourism businesses accounts for a relatively small proportion of overall regional GVA (6.2%) compared to other parts of the UK such as the South West (8.9%) and the North West (8.3%). However, given that under some definitions of the tourism sector (such as the narrower, DCMS definition used in our Culture & Prosperity report), tourism industries appear less important to West Midlands economic output, this new paper may cause a shift in perception to a certain extent.

Boeing 777 on runway at Birmingham AirportIndeed, the paper (and its definition of the tourism sector) may trigger a reassessment of the importance of tourism to the national economy generally. For example, the finding that tourism contributes 7.1% of all GVA in the UK contrasts with a recent study commissioned by VisitBritain, which suggests the visitor economy directly generates 4.0% of UK GDP.

Notes: GVA and GDP measures are different and therefore not directly comparable, but in this instance, it was deemed useful to compare the two studies to explore different assessments of tourism contribution to the overall economy.

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Photo by Martin O’Connell

West Midlands sees large fall in unemployment

The latest regional labour market statistics (zip, 2.9mb), released by the Office for National Statistics, show a large quarterly fall in the unemployment rate in the West Midlands, down 23,000 people to 230,000 (8.6%) in the quarter to May. This is the largest fall of any English region.

Unemployment in the West Midlands rose sharply at the beginning of the recession and peaked in April to June 2009 at 284,000 people or 10.5% – the highest unemployment rate of any English region.

Since then, unemployment here has fallen, whereas other regions have continued to see a rise. The West Midlands now has the fourth highest unemployment rate of English regions.

There’s also been a fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, the unemployment benefit. The number of claimants in the West Midlands fell to 159,800 in June, a fall of 2,800 people. This is a smaller decrease than in previous months but is 24,800 claimants fewer than the peak in October 2009.

Within the West Midlands, nearly all local authorities have seen a fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance over the last year. The biggest decreases have been in areas like Cannock Chase and Redditch which saw large increases in Jobseeker’s Allowance rates at the beginning of the recession.

Our interactive map shows how Jobseeker’s Allowance rates differ between local authorities.

The fall in unemployment has been accompanied by a rise in employment. The employment rate in the West Midlands is now 71.2% with 31,000 more people in employment than in the previous quarter.

Nationally the rise in employment was largely due to a rise in the number of part-time workers. Data on part-time workers at regional level is only available up to September 2009 (national data are for the quarter to May 2010) but does show that the number of part-time workers in the West Midlands increased during the recession even though the number of people in full-time employment fell.

More information on changes to the labour market during the recession are available in our economic inclusion annual report 2010 (pdf, 929kb).

Related links

Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter May/June 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.

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West Midlands population estimated to have grown to 5.431 million in 2009

Office for National StatisticsThe population of the West Midlands grew at a lower annual rate than that for England in 2009, according to the latest population estimates released by the Office for National Statistics.

With a population of 5.431 million, the region’s population grew by 0.4 per cent (23,000) on the preceding year.

Natural change (birth minus deaths) was the most significant contributor to the growth at 20,000, whereas net migration accounted for the remainder, and with a value of 3,000, was the lowest of any nation or region in the UK.

Locally within the West Midlands region, the most significant increases in population (in absolute terms) were recorded in:

  • Birmingham  – up 10,000 to 1.029 million
  • Coventry – up 2,000 to 313,000
  • Sandwell – up 2,000 to 291,000

With an increase in population on the preceding year of 0.9 per cent, Birmingham also recorded the largest rate of increase, whereas Stoke-on-Trent’s population is estimated to have decreased by 0.2 per cent.

Across the UK, the population grew to 61.792 million in 2009, an increase of 0.6% on the preceding year, with natural change contributing 217,000 and net migration 177,000.

A detailed breakdown of all the 2009 mid-year population statistics—nationally, regionally and locally, as well as by age groups and gender—are available from the Office for National Statistics.

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ONS release revised local authority population estimates for 2002 to 2008

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released revised mid-2002 to mid-2008 population estimates for local authorities in England and Wales. The revisions have been produced as a result of improvements to ONS  methodology, introduced as part of the cross-government Migration Statistics Improvement Programme.

The new population estimates use an enhanced method for apportioning migrants to local authorities incorporating modelling using up-to-date survey and administrative data. Higher Education Statistics Agency data is utilised to improve estimates of student internal migration.

ONS have produced a population estimates analysis tool to help users understand the main patterns and trends in the population estimates. Users can select specific areas of interest and compare local estimates across time and with estimates at higher levels of geography.

Data users are also able to select specific age groups and view the components of population change for the chosen area.

Mid-2009 population estimates will be published on 24th June 2010, and will be based upon the new methodology.

Visit the ONS website for more information.

ONS Local Profiles data CD now available

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) have created and made available to data users a free CD with local data profiles.

These Local Profiles have been developed by the ONS Centre for Regional and Local Statistics and represent a significant milestone in providing local authorities with the means to gain value from official statistics. They will help authorities to better understand the economic, social and environmental picture for their area.

The first set of Profiles are included as part of an ONS toolkit, available on CD, that will be of great value to local authorities when preparing their Local Economic Assessments (LEA), in addition to many other users of official statistics.

Key LEA contacts in local authorities will shortly receive the CD by mail.

The toolkit also contains commuting data, the small area Change over Time Analysis Viewer, Inter Departmental Business Register data, and the Atlas of Deprivation.

Find out more information about the free Local Profiles CD from the ONS, or email better.info@ons.gov.uk.

Metropolitan West Midlands remains the UK’s poorest sub-region in latest gross disposable household income estimates

Office for National StatisticsThe 2008 Regional Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) (pdf, 113kb) estimates are released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Indexed GDHI per head (where UK=100) for the West Midlands in 2008 was 90, stable in comparison to the revised 2007 index value of 90.

GDHI per head in the West Midlands rose from £12,800 in 2007 to £13,300 in 2008, an increase of 3.8 per cent, in line with the increase seen in England and the UK.

Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) per head is preferred to Gross Value Added (GVA) per head as a measure of economic welfare.

In the 2008 data, the West Midlands in regards to GDHI per head was ranked seventh amongst the nine English regions. London is the strongest performer at £19,000 and the North East is the least strong at £12,500.

In total, regional GDHI for the West Midlands region in 2008 was £72.2bn, an increase of £3.0bn on the revised figures for 2007.

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Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids event roundup

The Observatory and Regional Action West Midlands jointly organised Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids, an event held in Birmingham on 19th March.

The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of evidence in funding applications. 50 delegates from a range of voluntary and public sector organisations attended the day.

This post rounds up videos, presentation slides, links and reaction to the event.

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2011 Census Output Geography Consultation

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) are holding a consultation on the 2011 Census Output Geography policy.

Dr Ray Perrins from the South West Observatory has volunteered to respond on behalf of the Association of Regional Observatories.

There are three main topics:

  1. A new geography for improved reporting of business statistics and statistics relating to the workplace
  2. An upper layer of Super Output Areas (USOAs)
  3. A request for exceptional instances of current Output Areas and Super Output Areas, as designed for 2001, that do not fit present criteria for statistical zones

However, the consultation also provides an opportunity for you to comment on any aspect of the current 2011 Census Output Geography policy.

If you’re involved in the Regional Observatories and would like anything to be included in any response from the Association of Regional Observatories, please contact Dr Ray Perrins at the South West Observatory. Please get responses to Ray by Monday, 22nd March 2010.

However, the consultation is open to everyone, including members of the public. ONS suggest on their site that:

Government departments, unitary, county and district councils, metropolitan boroughs and other large census user organisations should discuss their requirements internally before making a joint submission.

How to make a submission and contact details are available on the ONS consultation page.

Latest labour market data shows slight improvements for the West Midlands

Office for National StatisticsThe latest labour market statistics released today by the Office for National Statistics are the most positive for many months.

In the West Midlands, the employment rate has increased slightly and unemployment and Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants have both fallen slightly.

The employment rate in the West Midlands is now 70.3% (August-October 2009) , up from 70% in the previous quarter.

There are 22,000 more people in employment than in the three months to July 2009.

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