Unemployment in the West Midlands has decreased by 19,000 in the quarter to April, official figures have revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 203,000 people were unemployed in the region between February and April 2014.

The region's unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent and saw a drop of 8.6 per cent during the period.

Nationwide, employment rose by a record 345,000 in the three months to April but Britain's workers were squeezed by a dramatic slowdown in pay growth.

The number of people in work stood at 30.54 million, according to the ONS, after a rise which was the highest since records began in 1971.

It means 780,000 jobs have been added since a year earlier, the biggest annual rise since 1989, but pay growth for the period slowed to 0.7 per cent, a sharp fall on last month's figure of 1.7 per cenrt, blunting hopes of a return to a period of real-terms pay growth.

The increase was well below the latest inflation rate of 1.8 per cent, meaning the cost of living is still going up more quickly than pay packets.

Unemployment fell by 161,000 to 2.16 million, with the jobless rate dropping to 6.6 per cent.

This slowdown in total pay was largely accounted for by bonuses which fell sharply compared with a period last year when in many cases they were deferred to April as tax changes were introduced. Regular pay growth also slowed, to 0.9 per cent from 1.3 per cent.

Commenting on the figures for the West Midlands, employment minister Esther McVey said: "The unemployment rate in the West Midlands fell 1.9 percentage points on the year - the largest fall of all UK regions.

"As the economy grows, businesses up and down the country are feeling increasingly confident about creating jobs, meaning many thousands more people are in work every day - e nsuring a better future for them, their families, and for the country as a whole."

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