Business leaders in the West Midlands have welcomed a drop in unemployment figures but said firms still find it hard to hire because of a lack of basic skills.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG) called on the Government to make it easier to recruit and to up-skill the unemployed.
Office for National Statistics unadjusted claimant count figures showed that there was a fall in the number of out of work in Birmingham from 49,767 in May to 49,294 in June.
The latest figures show 10.7 per cent of the economically active in Birmingham are claiming Job Seekers Allowance. And in the West Midlands the claimant count figure fell from 164,526 in May to 162,407 in June.
Michael Ward, president of Birmingham Chamber, said: “Twenty six per cent of service firms reported that they expected their workforce to increase in the three months from quarter two and recruitment in manufacturing also remains robust with 24 per cent reporting that they expect to recruit.
“But many find applicants don’t even have basic English skills.
“There is a complex programme of youth contracts, city deals, a work programme and work experience schemes and it is no wonder that employers and potential employees are confused about how to help people back into work.
“The Chamber is urging the Government to find a way to simplify the routes into the multitude of initiatives and to provide real financial incentives to encourage participation in them.
“The Chamber is also bringing schools and businesses together in an initiative for schools to find out what skills businesses are looking for.”
Between March to May unemployment in the West Midlands was down by 18,000 to 8.4 per cent or 223,000.
Nationally unemployment fell by 65,000 in the same period to 2.58 million.
Mike Ashton, spokesman for the West Midlands Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses want to play their part, but it is vital that schools and business continue to work together to ensure the up and coming workforce have employable skills.”