Unemployment has fallen to six per cent in the West Midlands – despite a UK-wide rise in joblessness.

There are now 167,000 people out of work in the city, after a fall of 12,000 in the quarter to June, new data shows.

The six per cent rate is the lowest in the region since 2007 and reflects a major fall – it was as high as 9.4 per cent two years ago.

The data follows two major jobs boosts in the region, after manufacturers Sertec and HydraForce unveiled expansion plans.

It was the ninth consecutive quarter of unemployment falling in the region, and has come amid a rise of employment. However, critics claim more zero hours and part-time roles play a part.

The region bucked the national trend after UK-wide joblessness increased for the second month in a row, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The UK’s jobless total went up by 25,000 in the quarter to June, the first time there have been two consecutive rises for two years.

Other figures showed that the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 4,900 last month to 792,400 following a slight increase in June.

There were 31 million people in work in the latest quarter, 63,000 fewer than the three months to March, but 354,000 more than a year ago.

A record 14.5 million women are in work, while employment for men slumped by 71,000 to just under 16.5 million compared with the previous quarter.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: “This is now the second consecutive time we’ve reported fewer people in work on the quarter.

“While it’s too early to conclude that the jobs market is levelling off, these figures certainly strengthen that possibility. Growth in pay, however, remains solid.”

Average earnings increased by 2.4 per cent in the year to June, down by 0.8 per cent on the previous month, but still ahead of inflation.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on long-term sick leave or who have given up looking for work, has increased by 7,000 to just under nine million.

The number of UK nationals in work between April and June increased by 84,000 compared with a year ago to 27.7 million. The total for non-UK nationals increased by 257,000 to 3.1 million.