Record numbers of people in work across West Midlands
The number of people in work in the UK and the West Midlands remained at record levels in the three months to April.
Unemployment in the region however bucked the national trend, rising by 7,000 on the quarter to 148,000. Nationally there was a fall of 38,000 to 1.42 million.
The employment rate for the West Midlands is at a record high of 74 per cent with 2.76m in work – up 51,000 on the previous quarter.
Employment nationally increased by 146,000 to 32.39 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971, giving a record rate of 75.6 per cent.
The national jobless rate is 4.2 per cent, the lowest since 1975, according to the Office for National Statistics. For the West Midlands it is 5.1 per cent.
Average earnings increased by 2.5 per cent in the year to April, down by 0.1 per cent on the previous month, but 0.3 per cent up on a year ago.
The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, taken early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 72,000 to 8.6 million in the latest quarter, giving a rate of 21 per cent, a record low.
The claimant count, which includes people on Jobseeker's Allowance and the unemployment element of Universal Credit, fell by 7,700 last month to 886,000, around 90,000 more than a year ago.
The West Midlands had a rise of 155 to 99,950 (2.8 per cent of the working population). Wolverhampton's claimant total was up 115 to 7,815 (4.8 per cent) with Walsall up 70 to 5,220 (3.1 per cent) and Sandwell rising by 15 to 7,615 (3.8 per cent). Dudley saw a fall of 210 in claimants to 7,235 (3.8 per cent)
Across Staffordshire claimant numbers were down 35 to 7,080 (1.2 per cent). Cannock Chase was down 15 at 915 (1.5 per cent). Lichfield 745 (1.2 per cent), Stafford 840 (one per cent) and South Staffordshire 940 (1.4 per cent) each saw a drop of 10 claimants.
The Wyre Forest district, taking in Kidderminster, has 15 more claiming at 1,000 (1.7 per cent).
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said: "The employment rate has never been higher – with over 3.2 million people moving into work since 2010.
"It's a Great British success story, with businesses from Exeter to Edinburgh creating jobs, helping, on average, 1,000 people find a job each and every day since 2010.
"With the increase in the personal tax allowance, the Government has ensured that people are keeping more of their money before they begin paying tax - meaning more take-home pay, that's more money in your pocket for you and your family."