West Midlands monthly economic update report for January 2010

The latest West Midlands monthly economic update (pdf, 414kb) is now available, updated to January 2010.

The report, published each month by the West Midlands Taskforce, summarises key trends and issues in the national and West Midlands economy.

This information is used by the Taskforce to inform partners’ responses to the downturn and to provide government ministers with updates on the key issues faced by the region’s businesses and communities.

The Observatory supports the Taskforce with data from across key sectors, as part of our work on monitoring the impact of the recession on the West Midlands.

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How the Observatory is monitoring the recession

Up and down arrows on wood chippingsThese are difficult times for the West Midlands. The recession is having a major impact on our people and our businesses.

In response, we have been involved in a range of analysis of current conditions and trends to inform the West Midlands Taskforce and other regional partners.

At the moment, we are producing a series of regular monitoring reports. These include contributions to the monthly economic briefings for the Taskforce, quarterly bulletins on the impact of the recession on the region’s population, skills and the labour market and the cultural sector.

We’ve also started publishing a regional analysis of the latest monthly unemployment figures. Continue reading

How is the West Midlands cultural sector performing during the recession?

Ironbridge with views of Telford townEconomic research launched in March 2009 by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory has helped to shed light on how the region’s cultural and creative sector is performing during the current economic downturn — an area which has not been the subject of sustained research in the past.

The economic snapshot paper (Word, 306KB) includes the results of a small scale survey which explores how levels of visitors and revenue have been affected in cultural venues such as museums, arts centres and visitor attractions.

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West Midlands economy contracting at faster rate than any other region

Up and down arrows on wood chippingsThe latest Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report for the West Midlands reaffirms the declining economic outlook. Business activity and new orders fell at faster rates in February, with manufacturing particularly weak as the impact on the automotive sector is more acutely felt.

The PMI is one of the leading indicators monitored as part of the regional monthly economic outlook report prepared for the West Midlands Taskforce.

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Latest West Midlands economic outlook released

Peter Mandelson speaking at West Midlands TaskforceThe latest monthly economic update (PDF, 0.6MB) was released today by the West Midlands Taskforce. The report, which draws together national and regional data, provides an up-to-date assessment of the current economic climate.

National headlines from the latest report include:

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West Midlands unemployment rate up significantly

Peter Mandelson and West Midlands TaskforceLatest data released by the Office for National Statistics point to a significant worsening of regional unemployment rate. This is the preferred measure of unemployment as it measures the percentage of those who are economically active but unable to find employment.

The last quarter of 2008 saw the estimated rate of unemployment rise by 1.2 percentage points to 7.7%, taking the annual change up to 1.9 percentage points from 5.8% quarter 4 2007.

The increase is due to an additional 34,000 people becoming economically active but employment growth was virtually static.

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