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.

Related links

Advertisements

West Midlands particularly vulnerable to public sector job cuts

Public sector employment has grown significantly in recent years across the UK and has been the key driver of the economy’s expansion. But proposals announced by the government to make £83bn worth of cuts in public sector spending are forecast to lead to the loss of up to 600,000 public sector jobs across the UK over the next 6 years, according to a study1 by Oxford Economics.

The West Midlands economy is particularly vulnerable to the impact of the cuts. Between 1998 and 2008 (latest available figures), the West Midlands saw the most significant increase in dependence on public sector employment in the country2.

The share of jobs accounted for by the public sector increased from 22% in 1998 to 27% in 2008, a rise of 5 percentage points, bringing total public sector employment to some 637,000.

We forecast that between 2010 and 2016 there will be a net loss of nearly 50,000 jobs across the West Midlands and, based on the ratio of the number of private sector jobs dependent on public sector spending and the associated supply chain nationally, a further 310,000 jobs are at risk at private sector firms directly or indirectly reliant on public sector spending3.

Continue reading

Equality Act 2010 comes into force 1 October – what does it mean?

The Equality Act 2010 brings together nine separate pieces of legislation into one single act simplifying the law and strengthening it in important ways to help tackle discrimination and inequality.

The coalition government announced on 3 July that the first wave of implementation of the Equality Act will take place on 1 October 2010. On this date, the vast majority of the act’s provisions will come into force. There are also some areas of the act which the government is still considering and may come into force at a later date.

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May said:

“By making the law easier to understand, the Equality Act will help business treat staff fairly and meet the needs of a diverse customer base. The law will be easier to understand and better able to protect people from discrimination.

“Implementing the Equality Act to the planned timetable makes clear our commitment to equality. A successful economy needs the full participation of all its citizens and we are committed to implementing the Act in the best way for business.”

To help people understand the new laws, the Government Equalities Office has prepared a series of summary guides: Equality Act 2010: what do I need to know?

Continue reading

West Midlands skills performance falters

The Observatory has published this year’s review of West Midlands skills performance .

Our summary skills index based on a range of measures (such as GVA per employee, investment in training, and qualification attainment amongst young people and adults) reveals the West Midlands skills performance has begun to widen again, from 1.1 points in 2007 to 2.3 points in 2009. As a result the West Midlands has dropped from 5th to 6th place in the league table of regions.

Skills performance index for West Midlands and England between 2005 and 2009

Continue reading

Local enterprise partnership proposals announced

56 proposals for local enterprise partnerships across the country have been submitted, the government has confirmed, following the closing day for submissions.

There are seven proposals from the West Midlands:

Three distinct responses in respect to cross boundary working arrangements have also been received from Peak District, South East England and West Leicestershire and Northern Warwickshire.

Here’s the full list of proposals.

Policy Assessment Model (PAM)

There has always been a need for policy to be grounded in evidence, but at a time when money is becoming tighter across the public sector, that need becomes even greater. Resources must be targeted where they can make the most difference. Gaining understanding of the future impact of policy decisions is therefore invaluable.

Past experience and local knowledge can provide some of that understanding, but it can’t tell us everything about the future. That is where tools like the Observatory’s Policy Assessment Model (PAM) come in.

This short slidecast explains why the Policy Assessment Model (PAM) was developed, how it works and how it can be used.

View on viddler | Get slides (ppt,  651kb)

The Policy Assessment Model goes beyond standard forecasting tools (although it will produce forecasts). It allows the direct and indirect impacts of a wide range of policy options and scenarios to be modelled over the long-term, allowing more informed decisions. It is capable of modelling impacts on the economy, the population and the local authorities within the West Midlands.

West Midlands monthly economic update report August 2010

The August 2010 economic update report (pdf, 482kb) from Advantage West Midlands is now available.

The report includes headlines and statistics, both national and from the West Midlands, on the state of the economy, inflation, the labour market, house prices, manufacturing, automotive, services sectors, construction, and retail.

The updates are published monthly here.