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Unemployment falls again in West Midlands

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The unemployment total in the West Midlands fell by 5,000 to 161,000 in the three months to March.

The number out of work in the West Midlands was down

Nationally the unemployment rate fell to a 42-year low with a record number of people in work, Office for National Statistics figures show.

The UK jobless total fell by 53,000 to 1.54 million in the quarter, a rate of 4.6 per cent, the lowest since summer 1975. The West Midlands rate is 5.7 per cent.

The number claiming unemployment benefits, including Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit, was up in the region last month by 1,035 to 89,060 - 2.5 per cent of the working population.

Wolverhampton saw a rise of 145 to 7,100 and its rate of 4.4 per cent is the second highest in the West Midlands behind Birmingham at 4.6 per cent.

Sandwell's claimant total was up 50 to 7.335 for April – 3.7 per cent – and Dudley rose by 45 to 5,925 (3.1 per cent), but Walsall bucked the trend with a fall of 10 to 5,095 (three per cent).

Staffordshire claimants were up 85 at 5,910 (1.1 per cent) with Stafford up 20 to 790 (one per cent),South Staffordshire up by the same number to 790 (1.2 per cent), Cannock Chase rising by five to 855 (1.4 per cent) and Lichfield also up five to 480 (0.8 per cent) – one of the lowest rates in the region.

Wyre Forest, including Kidderminster, was up five to 835 (1.4 per cent).

The national employment figure increased by 122,000 to almost 32 million, the highest since records began in 1971.

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At a press conference in London, Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Today's employment figures show that our credible economic policies are continuing to deliver greater economic security for families across the country."

Average earnings increased by 2.4 per cent in the year to March, just 0.1 per cent up on the previous month and below the latest CPI inflation rate of 2.7 per cent.

Nationally the number of people on the claimant count rose by 19,400 to 792,800, mainly because of an increase in those on Universal Credit.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star business reporter at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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