Unemployment is continuing to fall in the West Midlands, according to new statistics published today (18/10).

Employment is also up, and the new figures are the continuation of a trend which has seen the region gain more than 110,000 jobs since the summer of 2016.

West Midlands’ business leaders say the latest quarterly figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are further evidence of the growing strength of the local economy.

According to the ONS the unemployment rate in the region fell from 5.7 per cent to 5.2 per cent, the biggest decrease of any region.

At the same time, the employment rate for the region now stands at 73.2 per cent – an increase of 0.5 per cent. However, this is slightly behind the national employment rate, which stands at 75.1 per cent.

In addition, economic activity in the region remained unchanged, at 22.7 per cent.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “The West Midlands has made positive progress in reducing its unemployment rate, and it is pleasing to see such a fall.

“The rise in the number of people in employment is also to be welcomed, and together, these two measurements illustrate the region is heading in the right direction.

“However, more needs to be done to get more people into work, as levels of employment in our region remain below the national average – a trend reflected in the findings of our latest Birmingham Economic Review.

“We are hopeful that efforts such as the ongoing development of the Apprenticeship levy and the introduction of T-levels by 2020, if executed effectively, will boost skills and employment regionally.”

T-levels, announced last week, are a new technical qualification, and are an alternative to A- levels. T-levels are designed to simplify the process of vocational training in England.

The Birmingham Economic Review launch event is taking place next Wednesday (25 October). Full details at www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com