The number of people out of work in the West Midlands has reduced slightly – but the region remains one of the country’s worst-performing.
Latest unemployment statistics show a fall of 4,000 in the West Midlands last month, meaning there are not 260,000 people out of work – a rate of 9.7 per cent.
That is worse than any other UK region except the North East, where the unemployment rate stands at 10.4 per cent.
The news comes as nationwide data shows youth unemployment is edging close to one million.
However, across the UK the jobless total fell by 17,000 to 2.48 million, the first cut since last autumn, although the numbers claiming job-related benefits rose.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “These figures are another step in the right direct direction.
“It’s good news to see a rise in the number of full-time jobs in the private sector and the fall in unemployment is welcome.”
However, Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “The Government, which itself has cut over 220,000 public sector jobs, is devoid of any understanding of the misery it is creating in not dealing with unemployment as the number one priority.”
The latest data shows the number of women claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance across the UK has reached a near 15-year high.
The so-called claimant count increased by 700 last month to 1.45 million, including 462,300 women, the highest figure since October 1996.
The number of jobless 18 to 24-year-olds increased by 12,000 over the quarter to 963,000, while the total for 16 and 17-year-olds increased by 14,000 to 218,000, the highest since records began in 1992.
The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of unemployed men fell by 31,000 to 1.45 million and increased by 14,000 for women to just over a million.