Unemployment has fallen by one of the largest margins in memory - 1.3 per cent - in the West Midlands in the past quarter.
New data shows joblessness in the West Midlands fell to 8.1 per cent in the quarter from September to November, down from 9.4 per cent in the previous three months.
West Midlands business leaders welcomed today’s announcement by the Office for National Statistics, which came as the national figure 7.1 per cent – perilously close to the Monetary Policy Committee’s threshold for increasing interest rates.
Tim Pile, president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “While this is positive news at the start of the year, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce members still face recruitment difficulties, especially for skilled workers.
“In our latest quarterly economic survey for the fourth quarter, 55 per cent of manufacturers said they had attempted to take on new staff, and 63 per cent said they had faced difficulties in doing so. This was a similar story for service sector firms.”
Unemployment fell from from 7.6 per cent across the UK, bringing the total number of people out of work to 2.3 million.
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “Creating jobs and getting people into employment are central to our economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy, so it is very encouraging news that we’ve seen a record-breaking rise in employment over the last three months - the largest ever.
“With the highest quarterly fall in unemployment since 1997, it’s clear that the Government’s long-term economic plan to get people off benefits and into work so they can secure their future is proving successful.”