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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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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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).

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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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Further rise in unemployment in the West Midlands

Office for National Statistics logoUnemployment in the West Midlands reached 285,000 in the three months to June 2009, the highest level since 1994.

Figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show that the unemployment rate in the West Midlands is at 10.6%. This is still the highest rate of all the English regions.

The West Midlands continues to be the region hardest hit by the recession and has seen the biggest increase in unemployment of all the regions.

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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.

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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.

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