There are more people in work in the West Midlands than any time on record after another surge in job creation.
Latest data shows there are 2.52 million people employed in the region currently, which is more than any stage on record.
In percentage terms, the employment rate has been higher – there are currently 70.4 per cent of people in work as opposed to 72.9 per cent in late 2005 – but the new record comes after a surge in job creation.
There are 51,000 more people in work in the region than at the same stage last year, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows.
However, the data does not break down into part-time and zero-hours roles.
The latest statistics also reveal there are 66,000 fewer people out of work in the West Midlands than a year ago, after another major fall.
John Lamb, a spokesman for Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said the data showed the resilience of the region’s private sector.
He highlighted a surge in creative sector jobs, after the Post revealed earlier this month that sector had created almost 20,000 new roles in just three years.
He said: “It is good news that this is happening. It reflects the resilience of this region to come through the downturn and bounce back this way.
“And there is a healthy spread of jobs as well. The boom sector is the creative industries, which is a huge growth area in Birmingham and the West Midlands more generally.
“The good thing about this is, it is across the board and not just based on one sector.”
While the ONS data reveals an upturn in fortunes for the region’s employment sector, in some ways it remains behind the UK en masse.
There is currently an employment rate of 73.1 per cent across the country, which is as high as it has ever been, equalling a record set in May 2005.
However, the West Midlands has lagged behind the national rate since the onset of the recession.
In spite of a major fall in unemployment – there were 268,000 people out of work in May 2013, compared to 202,000 a year on, the region still lags behind.
The unemployment rate has plummeted from 9.8 per cent to 7.4 per cent, but the UK average is now 6.5 per cent.
Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It is pleasing to see that the numbers of people in employment continues to rise, reflecting the renewed confidence in the local economy, and the significant investments being made in the city.
“The city council has played its part to ensure that these new opportunities are increasingly being taken by Birmingham residents. For example, through the Birmingham Jobs Fund and the multi-agency approach we have adopted to address youth unemployment, we have helped 1,336 of our young people into jobs and apprenticeships to date, and we will continue to accelerate our activity and significantly increase those numbers over the coming months.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said the figures were “remarkable”, adding: “In the past 12 months alone, employment has increased by close to a million, the largest annual increase on record. This has led to a record share of the UK working age population being in work.”