Unemployment has grown to its highest level for six years after a big increase in the number of people without work, official figures showed yesterday.
There were 1.65 million people classed as unemployed in the three months to May, an increase of 90,000 over the quarter.
The figure was the worst since the spring of 2000, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance increased by 5,900 last month to 956,600.
The so-called claimant count has now risen for 15 out of the last 16 months and is 93,000 higher than a year ago.
The sequence of monthly rises is the worst since the early 1990s, when the claimant count increased for 31 months in a row.
Under the wider measure, West Midlands unemployment stands at 141,000 plus 3,000 5.3 per cent of the workforce. The equivalent for the East Midlands is 124,000, plus 20,000, 5.5 per cent.
On the claimant count figure, West Midlands unemployment hit a seasonally adjusted 109,000, up 300 on the month and 13,400 on June last year. That gives a percentage of the workforce of four per cent, up from 3.5 per cent a year ago.
Unadjusted there were 109,300 out of work, down 1,500, but ahead 13,700 on June 2005. The percentage of the workforce is four per cent.
Nationally, job cuts in manufacturing continued, with the number of workers in the sector reaching the lowest level since records began in 1978.
There were just over three million manufacturing jobs in the latest quarter, a fall of 112,000 compared with a year ago.
A total of 147,000 people said they were made redundant between March and May, an increase of 6,000 from the previous three months.
The number of people in work increased by 59,000 in the latest quarter to reach 28.9 million, one of the highest on record.
The number of people classed as economically inactive fell by 79,000 to 7.85 million in the three months to May. Employment Minister Jim Murphy said: "Employ-ment is up by over 200,000 in the last year and is close to the highest it's ever been. I'm encouraged by the fact that more people who previously weren't looking for work are now doing so.
"What is more, the biggest improvement has been amongst those who regard themselves as long-term sick. We must do more to help match these people who are now looking for work with the 600,000 vacancies reported in June.
"That is why our Welfare Reform Bill, and the roll-out of Pathways To Work for people on incapacity benefits, is so important.
"They will enable us to give many more people the individual help they need - firstly to look for work, and then to get over the barriers that stop them from taking it up."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The total number of people in work has risen again and employ-ment stands at a record level. The other good news is that the rate and level of inactivity among working-age people has continued to fall.
"However, the continuing rise in unemployment is a concern. The Government should take swift steps to tackle the upward creep of unemployment by increasing funding for back-to-work support for unemployed people and investment in skills and training, as well as taking measures to protect jobs in the manufacturing sector.
"Unemployment is still at its lowest level for a quarter of century and we must ensure that it stays that way."
Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson said: "Soon quality jobs will be the only UK export."