Unemployment in region falls to its lowest in a decade

17 November 2016

Unemployment in the West Midlands has plummeted in the past quarter, thanks to a booming local economy which is continuing to get stronger and create more jobs.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that nationally, unemployment has fallen to an 11-year low, in the three months to September.

The West Midlands has been the UK’s best performing region on the jobs front, recording a 1.5 per cent increase in the employment rate, which, at 73.4 per cent, is just marginally lower than that of London.

The West Midlands employment rate is the highest it has been for ten years, and it is a similar story for the unemployment rate, which is at its lowest since the first quarter of 2006.

The current unemployment rate in the region has fallen to just 5.2 per cent, which is lower than the North West (5.3 per cent) and London (5.6 per cent).

To round off the good news, there has been a 0.9 per cent decrease in the inactivity rate in the region, which is now 22.4 per cent, compared to the national figure of 21.7 per cent.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner (pictured) said: “Today’s labour market statistics highlight another period of excellent progress for the West Midlands.

“We see a simultaneous surge in our employment rate balanced against significant reductions in our rates for both unemployment and inactivity. These figures are clear indications of the strength of our regional economy and are reflective of the confidence that is returning to the West Midlands.  

“Whereas historically we have struggled to make up ground on national labour market performance, today’s figures see us surpassing a number of regional counterparts and importantly bring us within touching distance of national averages.

“However, with employment levels rising, employers are now having to recruit from a smaller talent pool. Our latest Quarterly Business Report identified that approximately 60 per cent of firms had faced difficulties recruiting in quarter three and we know that we still have issues with skills gaps in the region. An effective way to address these skills gaps is through training apprenticeships.

“A wide array of apprenticeship reforms are set to come into effect from April next year.  It is vital that business leaders of all shapes and sizes look ahead and understand how they might be impacted by the reforms as well as the opportunities that will be available to them. We would encourage all business leaders to attend the GBCC’s apprenticeship events or get in touch with us to find out more.”

The GBCC is holding an Apprenticeship Reforms Update seminar on Tuesday 29th November. This session will give attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest announcements around the reforms and discuss how their business might be affected. For further information and to book your place at the event, please click here.

The Chamber has also published a briefing paper on the Apprenticeship Reforms which outlines the key aspects for businesses. You can read the paper here.



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