A further fall in unemployment and a rise in employment are signs that the West Midlands is making headway in upskilling people, business leaders said today.
Employment growth in the region continues to outpace the national rate, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The West Midlands had the second largest rise in employment – increasing by 0.8 per cent to 74.8 per cent during the last quarter.
Furthermore, 76,000 additional workforce jobs were created between June 2017 and June 2018.
Unemployment was down by 0.5 per cent, although the region still has the second highest rate in the UK.
Paul Faulkner (pictured), chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “These figures once again reflect a positive change in the West Midlands. More local people are in jobs, and it looks like businesses are adding to their headcounts despite economic uncertainty.
“Growth in employment in the West Midlands is currently outstripping national employment growth, as are the local declines in unemployment and inactivity.
“This is an encouraging indication that schools, FE colleges and universities have made headway in upskilling local people.
“However, we must maintain this momentum, and ensure that businesses are actively engaged in this work.
“The West Midlands has the second-highest unemployment rate in the UK and far more must still be done to raise skill levels and reduce the difficulties businesses are reporting when hiring staff.
“It is encouraging to see that once again the West Midlands has seen a particularly high increase in workforce jobs, which reflects the levels of investment in the region.
“But we must ensure that these jobs represent meaningful work, and that they can be accessed by local residents.
“With Brexit on the horizon, it is crucial that we can accurately represent the views of the full Greater Birmingham business community at a local and national level.
“We need to know about your hiring difficulties, and how your business is doing across the board.
“I would urge businesses to complete our short Quarterly Business Report survey to ensure their voice is heard.”
The Chambers’ Quarterly Business Report (QBR) survey can be found here.