Mixed picture on jobs front for West Midlands

15 September 2016

The latest job figures again present a mixed outlook for the West Midlands – with a drop in activity cited as the reason for slight increases in employment and unemployment.

Figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show unemployment in the region crept up by 0.5 per cent between May and July, with employment also rising by 0.4 per cent.

Significantly, the number of people aged 16 to 64 who are inactive in the jobs market across the UK has fallen to 21.5 per cent - the lowest since records began in 1971.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner (pictured) said: “We welcome the rise in both the national and West Midlands employment rate, and that the uncertainty in the run up to the EU Referendum did not affect employment growth. 

“However, today’s figures also show that unemployment rose in the region between May and July by 0.5 per cent to 6.2 per cent. 

“This quirk in the statistics is the result of a fall in the inactivity rate, but suggests the labour market could soften in future. 

“We are shortly to release the results of our latest Quarterly Business Report and will be examining local employment trends carefully in light of this.

“Despite the mixed picture with employment, other recent statistics demonstrate that the economy has recovered from its temporary post-EU blip. 

“In the West Midlands in particular there are many opportunities to get excited about, including HS2. 

“Birmingham has announced a £1 billion investment for redevelopment in the city region as part of the HS2 transformation, expected to create 36,000 jobs and 4,000 new homes. 

“We thoroughly welcome the support from the Prime Minister for this investment programme. 

“A priority for the upcoming Autumn Statement must, however, be to clarify the government’s new industrial strategy and how this will deliver prosperity and job creation the Prime Minister has promised.”

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