Unemployment is back on the rise with a vengeance - and the latest figures don't even include MG Rover.
The number of people claiming unemploymentrelated benefit has increased for the third month in a row.
But both the Government and economic pundits were playing down the significance.
The so- called claimant count jumped by 8,100 in April to 839,400, after an upwardlyrevised rise of 13,600 in March, and nearly double the 4,500 increase economists had expected.
That marked the third monthly surge in the claimant count, the first time that has happened since January-March 2003 in the run-up to the Iraq war. The claimant count unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.7 per cent.
Seasonally adjusted unemployment in the West Midlands totalled 88,300, up 2,600, 3.3 per cent of the workforce. The unadjusted equivalent was 91,000, up 1,900, 3.4 per cent.
The more internationallyrecognised ILO measure of unemployment fell 15,000 in the three months to March, leaving the jobless rate steady at 4.7 per cent.
The West Midlands ILO figures saw 122,000 out of a job, down 5,000, 4.6 per cent of the workforce.
Total employment rose 87,000 on the previous three months to 28.61 million.
The data, from National Statistics, did not cover recent, high- profile job loss announcements affecting thousands of workers at MG Rover, IBM and Marconi.
Nor did it include yesterday's announcement from toothpaste maker Colgate that it is to shut a factory in the UK with the loss of 400 jobs. The New York-based firm said the plant at Salford, was expected to close by the end of 2007.
Nationally, the number of economically inactive people increased by 14,000, to 7.86 million - a fifth of the working age population.
The figure, which includes those on early retirement, looking after a relative or who have given up trying to find a job, has risen by 77,000 over the past year.
The number of job vacancies across the country fell by 26,100 to 628,900 in the three months to April.
Jobs continue to be lost in manufacturing, down to a record low of 3.23 million in the quarter to March, 82,000 adrift of the same period a year ago.
New Work Minister Margaret Hodge put a brave face on the figures.
She said: "They mean we start the Government's historic third term with the strongest labour market for decades - employment at near record levels and unemployment the lowest for 30 years.
"With nearly three-quarters of working-age people in work, we have the highest employment rate of the major world economies.
"Our first term was about tackling the high levels of long-term unemployment that were the legacy of boom and bust. Long-term unemployment is now just a quarter of the level it was in 1997 and long-term youth unemployment has been virtually eradicated.
"Our new term is about building on the success of our economic and welfare-to-work policies of the last eight years. We have set our sights on an employment rate of 80 per cent. This is an ambitious, long-term aim but the process of achieving it starts now."
Howard Archer, economist at Global Insight, noted: "The labour market data continue to throw up mixed signals, but overall the evidence suggests that it is still pretty tight."
But Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, said: "The further fall in manufacturing jobs, influenced no doubt by the collapse of MG Rover, shows the pressing need for Government action.
"What we really need now is a much more strategic approach by this Government in its third term. As a start, we should redefine public-private partnerships so Government can act to support key manufacturers in the same way the French and Germans would do."
There were 4,000 working days lost through industrial disputes in March, the lowest figure for that month since records began in 1931. Days lost through disputes totalled 533,000 in the year to March, 230,000 fewer than the previous 12 months.
The UK continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at 4.7 per cent, compared with 9.8 per cent in France and Germany, 10.2 per cent in Spain and 5.2 per cent in the US.