Unemployment has fallen by a huge 0.9 per cent in the West Midlands in the past quarter.

Latest figures show a fall of 0.9 per cent to 8.8 per cent in the region.

However, West Midlands business leaders said reskilling the unemployed is key to the growth of the West Midlands economy.

While the region shows a significant fall in the quarter from August to October 2013, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce said the West Midlands has the second highest unemployment rate in the UK.  Nationally unemployment figures have fallen by 0.3 per cent to 7.4.

Tim Pile, president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said:  “Our members quarterly economic survey for quarter three reports that 50 per cent of manufacturers are looking to recruit but 58 per cent say finding the right skills are difficult.  

“Both service sector firms and manufacturers tell us that they repeatedly find difficulties when looking for skilled and managerial staff.   The construction and operation of HS2 will require thousands of jobs and ensuring that the region is in a position to move into these jobs is vital.

“The Washwood Heath HS2 depot will provide many highly skilled positions and is a fantastic opportunity for the region.”