West Midlands is UK’s leading employment hotspot

THE West Midlands has continued to be the UK’s employment hotspot with latest figures showing the region leading the way in terms of job creation.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show the region recorded a 32,000 fall in its jobless total during the October to December 2014 quarter.

The fall, equivalent to a 1.2% decline in the unemployment rate, is way ahead of the UK average – which showed a fall of just 0.3% in the same period.

The region now has 169,000 people classed as unemployed – a rate of 6.1%.

Nationally, the UK total declined 97,000 to 1.86m – a rate of 5.7%.

Compared to the October to December period in 2013, the West Midlands has seen a drop of 63,000 in its unemployment total – equal to a 2.2% fall in the overall rate.

Commenting, Greg Lowson, president of Birmingham Chamber and head of office at law firm Pinsent Masons in Birmingham, said that while the regional total had declined, the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Greater Birmingham had risen by 1,605 over the period.

“Although the figures are mixed, it does show that unemployment remains an increasing problem in Greater Birmingham,” he said.
“While in the wider West Midlands, fewer people were out of work, the rise in Birmingham can again be laid at the door of the skills shortage.

“However, the drop in unemployment in the region is encouraging and something that Birmingham will be striving to emulate.”

He said the chamber was encouraging businesses to liaise with colleges through its recently launched Skills Hub.