The multiple risk factors of worklessness

By isolating the ‘risk factors’ and certain combinations of ‘risk factors’ associated with a person’s chance of being out of work, new analysis from the West Midlands Observatory can help decision makers get to grips with the complex interplay of issues behind the current high rate of worklessness across the West Midlands.

The research is already informing the Department for Work and Pensions in its review of welfare policy, as it provides insights into the major factors influencing a person’s chances of being in or out of work. It shows that these chances can vary greatly according to the individual’s background and personal characteristics. The research demonstrates how combinations of factors such as having no formal qualifications or a long-term health problem or disability, or being a lone parent, affect a person’s chance of being out of work.

Continue reading


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.

Continue reading

Interactive maps help monitor recession geospatially

We’ve produced a set of interactive maps to monitor the impact of the recession at different geographical levels in the West Midlands:

  • By West Midlands Local Authority
  • By West Midlands Census ward
  • Neighbourhoods in the Rural Regeneration Zone

The maps show Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimant rates (the proportion of the working age population claiming JSA), which gives an indication of unemployment.  The maps help us to see how the recession is affecting different areas.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Rising unemployment: West Midlands is the worst affected region

Office for National Statistics logoThe West Midlands has been hardest hit by the recession, has seen the biggest rise in unemployment and is the first region in England where the unemployment rate has topped 10%.

New Labour Market Statistics (PDF, 328kb) released on 15th July 2009 by the Office for National Statistics show the unemployment rate in the West Midlands increased to 10.3% in the quarter to May 2009.

There are now more than a quarter of a million (276,000) people in the region out of work. Since the previous quarter, a further 52,000 people in the region have become unemployed.

Continue reading

Unemployment rises again in the West Midlands

Office for National Statistics logoUnemployment in the West Midlands grew by a further 39,000 in the three months to April 2009 and has now reached its highest level since 1994.

Data released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there are now just under quarter of a million people (249,000) out of work in the region giving an unemployment rate of 9.3%.

This is the highest unemployment rate of all the English regions and two percentage points higher than the national rate of 7.3%. At 9.3%, the unemployment rate has increased by nearly three percentage points on the same period a year ago making the West Midlands the worst affected region.

Continue reading

Interactive map of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants

We’ve produced an interactive map to show how Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant rates are changing across the region in response to the recession.

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is the main unemployment benefit for working age people who are out of work.

Screenshot: interactive map showing Jobseeker's Allowance claimant rates in the West Midlands

Open the interactive map (requires Adobe Flash Player)
Download the dataset (XLS, 25kb)
Source: Office for National Statistics, claimant count (not seasonally adjusted)

Continue reading