The Government was given a pre-Christmas boost on the jobs front when unemployment fell by almost 100,000 and the number of people in work topped 30 million for the first time on record.
The jobless total fell by 99,000 in the quarter to October, the biggest cut in over a decade, to 2.39 million, giving a rate of 7.4%, the lowest for over four years.
Across the West Midlands the figure plunged by 26,000 to 240,000 - one of the sharpest falls in recent times.
Nationwide the number of people in work was 30.09 million, an increase of 250,000 over the quarter and of almost half a million compared with a year ago.
Private sector employment reached a record high of 24.4 million, and long-term and youth unemployment also fell.
But 1.47 million people were in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work, the highest total since records began in 1992.
The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance last month fell by 36,700 to 1.27 million. It differs from the headline jobless figure because not everyone classed as unemployed is eligible to claim jobseeker’s allowance.
Across the West Midlands the claimant count fell 5,836 to 129,248, or 3.6 per cent of the region’s workforce.
Wolverhampton still has the highest rate for the West Midlands of 6.5 per cent. Number claiming in the city was down 502 to 10,387.
Dudley fell 508 to 8,188 (4.2 per cent), Sandwell was down 409 at 11,036 (5.6 per cent) and Walsall by 385 to 8,120 (4.9 per cent).
In Staffordshire the number claiming in Stafford fell 117 to 1,244 (1.5 per cent), Cannock Chase was down 97 at 1,413 (2.2 per cent), South Staffordshire by 95 to 1,265 and Lichfield fell by 83 to 846 (1.4 per cent).
The Wyre Forest district, covering Kidderminster, saw a fall of 142 to 1,781 (3 per cent).