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Bucking the national trend: West Midlands unemployment down

The national unemployment figure has risen again, but the West Midlands is bucking the trend with more people in work.


Across the UK as a whole unemployment rose for the second month in a row, reaching 1.85 million, new figures show.

The jobless total went up by 25,000 in the quarter to June, the first time there have been two consecutive rises for two years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it was possible the jobs market was "levelling off".

[breakout title="Claimant count by area" align="right"]

  • West Midlands - 78,749 | +2,058 | 2.2%

  • Birmingham - 29,118 | +1,186 | 4.2%

  • Dudley - 5,170 | +359 | 2.7%

  • Sandwell - 6,759 | -70 | 3.4%

  • Walsall - 4,427 | -174 | 2.6%

  • Wolverhampton - 6,372 | -29 | 4.0%

  • Staffordshire - 4,920 | +136 | 0.9%

  • Cannock Chase - 741 | -15 | 1.2%

  • Lichfield - 360 | +54 | 0.6%

  • South Staffordshire - 741 | +2 | 1.1%

  • Stafford - 622 | +9 | 0.8%

  • Wyre Forest - 735 | +29 | 1.2%


But in the West Midlands unemployment fell by 12,000 to 167,000 between April and June.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance, however, was up by 2,058 to 78,749.

There was a more mixed picture jobseekers across the Black Country, with some areas seeing a rise in the claimant count while others saw a dip. Dudley was up by 359 to 5,170, whereas Walsall was down 174 to 4,427. Wolverhampton and Sandwell, however, remained fairly stable.

Unemployment and claimant figures can sometimes appear contradictory, as many unemployed people are not eligible to claim benefits.

ONS figures also showed that in March the number of workforce jobs in the West Midlands had surged by 40,000 – to 2.8 million – boosted largely by a 28,000 jump in the number of self-employed people in the region, to 350,000.

[related_posts title="More jobs news"]

Nationwide, the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 4,900 last month to 792,400 following a slight increase in June.

There were 31 million people in work in the latest quarter, 63,000 fewer than the three months to March, but 354,000 more than a year ago.

A record 14.5 million women are in work, while employment for men slumped by 71,000 to just under 16.5 million compared with the previous quarter.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: "This is now the second consecutive time we've reported fewer people in work on the quarter.

"While it's too early to conclude that the jobs market is levelling off, these figures certainly strengthen that possibility. Growth in pay, however, remains solid."

Average earnings increased by 2.4% in the year to June, down by 0.8% on the previous month, but still ahead of inflation.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on long-term sick leave or who have given up looking for work, has increased by 7,000 to just under nine million.

The number of UK nationals in work between April and June increased by 84,000 compared with a year ago to 27.7 million. The total for non-UK nationals increased by 257,000 to 3.1 million.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "Thanks to our long term economic plan we have already seen two million more people in jobs since 2010. On top of that, today's figures show job vacancies at a near record high - evidence of the continued confidence of British businesses, and potential for further growth in the UK economy.

"Our one nation government is helping millions across the country to succeed and achieve their full potential. I was particularly pleased to see that wages are continuing to rise - meaning that hardworking people will see a real difference in their pay packets."


The Government pointed out there were nearly two million more people in work than in 2010, with almost half a million more jobs in the private sector over the last year.

Unemployment has fallen by 221,000 in the last year, and long-term unemployment has been cut by more than 210,000 since 2010

There are job 735,000 vacancies, an increase of nearly 70,000 since last year. The claimant count has fallen by more than by more than 200,000 in the last year.

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