Unemployment crept up by 2,000 last quarter in the West Midlands – after making major progress in the months before – as UK-wide joblessness dipped below seven per cent.
The number of people out of work in the region rose from 222,000 to 224,000 in the quarter to February, meaning an overall rate of 8.2 per cent.
The number of people out of work had fallen by 19,000 in the previous announcement.
However, the number of people in employment, which has consistently risen in the past year, continued to increase, this time by 3,000 to more than 2.5 million, in the region, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.
Meanwhile, UK-wide unemployment fell by 77,000 between December and February to 2.24 million official figures showed.
The Government said unemployment has dropped below seven for the first time since the recession and employment has seen the biggest annual jump in a generation.
Joe Grice, chief economic adviser at the Office for National Statistics, said: “These figures - rising employment and falling unemployment and inactivity - continue the strong trend in the labour market that has been seen in recent months. Self-employment has again been a prominent growth area.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “These figures are some of the strongest evidence yet that we are embedding the recovery. We have record numbers in work and unemployment falling at the fastest rate in over a decade.
“With earnings now rising in line with prices and employment rising, these figures reinforce the fact that the only way to higher living standards is to take the difficult decisions needed to deliver our long-term economic plan.
“There is still a great deal more to do, but today’s announcement is solid progress on building the stronger economy in a fairer society that Liberal Democrats entered coalition to deliver.”