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Unemployment in the West Midlands falls by 5,000

Unemployment in the West Midlands fell by 5,000 in the quarter to January, official figures have revealed.

Unemployment in the West Midlands fell by 5,000 in the quarter to January Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

According to the Office for National Statistics, a total of 182,000 people were unemployed in the region between November and January.

The region's unemployment rate was 6.5% and saw a drop of 2.7% during the period.

Nationwide, unemployment has dipped to a near seven-year low after a fall of more than 100,000, while a record number of people are in work.

Passenger numbers booming at Birmingham Airport

Passenger numbers are booming at Birmingham Airport, after it reported significant growth in passengers using the terminal in February.

The number using the airport in February beat its previous record for the same month set in 2008 Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The airport says almost 650,000 travelled through it in February, an increase of 8.4% on the same month last year.

It has also seen a 100% growth on scheduled routes to Hamburg, Oporto, Gdansk, Reykjavik and Toulouse, as well as growth to Las Palmas (+90.7%) Milan (+81.1%) and Amritsar (+69.3%).

The great start we made in 2015 has been followed up with another strong performance in February, which is a positive sign for the rest of the year.

February was boosted thanks to families choosing to fly from Birmingham during a busy half-term week.

There are many new routes, served by new carriers, set to launch in the months ahead too, including Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga with Norwegian, Barcelona with Vueling and New York JFK with American Airlines. These, coupled with the recent announcement that Birmingham will host a programme of non-stop charter flights to Beijing in the summer with Hainan Airlines, means passengers flying from Birmingham have more choice than ever before in 2015.

– Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive


Council: Smithfield plans 'will create a vibrant new destination'

Birmingham City Council says plans for a £500 million regeneration of a 14 hectare site in the city centre 'will create a vibrant new destination'.

Birmingham Smithfield is expected to create 3,000 new jobs Credit: Marketing Birmingham

Birmingham Smithfield presents a once in a generation opportunity to build upon our recent successes and deliver a truly unique asset for the city. Our plans for Birmingham Smithfield will create a vibrant new destination – adding to the city’s reputation as a top visitor destination and a great place to live and do business.

The area’s vibrant heritage, dating back to 1166 with its focus on markets, will be central to its future transformation, with the name Birmingham Smithfield reflecting its unique history. While the area’s wholesale markets will move, its retail markets will be improved to encourage more niche and specialist traders to locate alongside the famous brands on offer at the nearby Bullring retail centre.

– Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council


Demolition of old Ilkeston train station to begin

Demolition work will get underway today of the old Ilkeston train station, 50 years after it closed.

Demolition work will get underway today Credit: ITV News Central

It will make way for a new one costing £6.5 million.

Ilkeston has often been described as the largest town in England without a train station after Dr Beeching, a former Chairman of British Railways, brought out a report in the 1960s, which led to thousands of stations and many railways closing down.

Artist's impression of the new station Credit: Derbyshire County Council

The new station will have two platforms, automated ticket machines, a 150-space car park and a taxi rank.

It will also service the Nottingham to Leeds line.

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