Unemployment in the West Midlands increased by 10,000 in the first quarter of 2015.

Latest analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows a total of 178,000 people were unemployed in the region between January and March.

The region's unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent and saw a rise of six per cent during the period however it was well below the UK's worst region as Scotland recorded a 19,000 increase in the number of people without a job.

However, fewer people in the West Midlands were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance at 84,851, the lowest figure since January 2011.

Business leaders in Birmingham today called on the Government to provide greater incentives for firms to take on the unemployed.

Greg Lowson, president of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: "There is a rather confused picture in the West Midlands on the jobs front and this may be seasonal.

"This underlines that it's very much work in progress in the West Midlands and that any temptation to increase interest rates should be resisted.

"There is still a great deal of work to do, especially in the heart of Birmingham, where the chamber is addressing the issue through its links with businesses and the nine colleges of further education which form The Skills Hub.

"Businesses need a continued period of stability in order to deliver the growth and prosperity that we want to see and in that respect the government can provide incentives through the reduction in red tape promised by the Conservatives in their pre-election campaign."

The new government has been given some good news on the jobs front, with unemployment continuing to fall across the UK and a record number of people in work.

The figures show unemployment has dipped to a seven-year low of 1.83 million although the latest quarterly cut of 35,000 was the smallest for almost two years.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 12,600 in April to 763,000, the 30th consecutive monthly reduction.

Employment continued to rise, up by 202,000 in the three months to March to more than 31 million, the highest since records began in 1971.

The UK now has an employment rate of 73.5 per cent, also a record, although for men the figure is even higher at 78.4 per cent.