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Unemployment drops slightly in West Midlands but rises nationally

Unemployment across the West Midlands dropped slightly for the months from May to July, officials figures have revealed.

Unemployment figures have been released

According to a report from the Office for National Statistics, the total of number of people unemployed in the region for the three months to July stands at 149,000 (5 per cent), down from 156,000 in the previous three months.

The figure was at its lowest since February to April.

Nationally, the figures also showed that the rate of unemployment lifted to its highest level for nearly two years, at 4.3 per cent in the three months to July, up from 4.2 per cent in the previous three months.

However, wages in the UK continued to surge at a record pace and have not been outstripped by inflation for the first time in nearly two years, according to figures.

The ONS said average regular weekly earnings growth remained at a record high of 7.8 per cent in the three months to July, matching Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation for the first time since October 2021.

Total pay including bonuses jumped by 8.5 per cent, meaning that it exceeded inflation for the first time since March 2022, up 0.6 per cent with CPI taken into account.

Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics, said: “Earnings in cash terms continue to increase, at a record rate outside the pandemic-affected period.

“Coupled with lower inflation, this means people’s real pay is no longer falling.

“Unemployment continues to increase in the latest three months. Correspondingly, employment is down, driven by falls among men and the self-employed.

“The proportion of people neither working or looking for a job is slightly up, with more students, as well as the long-term sick reaching yet another record.”

Statistics for those claiming unemployment benefits in the West Midlands, including Universal Credit, in August was down at 179,805, compared to 182,200 last month.

In Shropshire, the number of claimants was 4,400, down from 4,495 while in Telford & Wrekin there was a drop from 4,010 to 4,000.

The number of claimants in Powys for August remained unchanged at 1,680.

In Wolverhampton, the claimant count stood at 12,325 for August, down from 12,705 the previous month and representing 7.5 per cent of the working population.

The figure for Dudley stood at 9,040, compared to 9,165 previously (4.6 per cent of the working population).

The number for Walsall was 9,600, down from 9,810 in July while Sandwell was 13,495, down from 13,675.

In Birmingham, the number claiming unemployment benefits, including Universal Credit, stood at 63,475 for August compared to 63,695 the previous month.

Elsewhere, in Staffordshire, the number of claimants fell from 15,270 to 14,955 with the number in Cannock chase standing at 2,160 compared to 2,225 previously.

In Lichfield, the number for August was 1,490 down from 1,530 in July.

For South Staffordshire, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits, including Universal Credit, was 1,660 for August, a fall from 1,710 while in Stafford, the figure was 1,980, down 15 from July.

Tamworth also saw a drop from 1,705 to 1,645 claimants.

In the Wyre Forest, including Kidderminster, the number of claimants now stands at 1,840, representing no change.

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