1. ITV Report

Unemployment falls in the Midlands

Job Centre Photo: PA/Rui Vieira

More people are in work as new figures show unemployment has fallen to 8.1% in the West Midlands and by 6.4% in the East Midlands.

The figures published by the Office for National Statistics show the number of jobless nationally has dropped from 167,000 to 2.32 million.

  • East Midlands, 149,000, minus 28,000, 6.4%
  • West Midlands, 222,000 , minus 32,000, 8.1%

The unemployment rate for the West Midlands has fallen to 8.1 per cent in the quarter from September to November, down from 9.4 per cent in the previous three months.

Business leaders welcomed today's announcement however said that some companies are struggling to find skilled workers:

Tim Pile, president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said:

"While this is positive news at the start of the year, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce members still face recruitment difficulties, especially for skilled workers."

Number employed in UK public sector since 2000. Credit: ONS

For September 2013 there were 5.7 million people working in the public sector across the UK accounting for 18.8% of people in employment, the Office for National Statistics said. It represents the lowest percentage since the series began in 1999.

Today’s figure shows that the gap between the regions is beginning to close. The West Midlands has fallen from second to joint third place with London on the unemployment league table.