The West Midlands is bucking the national trend when it comes to both employment and unemployment, thanks to a booming local economy. Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics indicate another strong showing for the region on the jobs front between August and October. While employment decreased nationally by 0.1 per cent, it increased by 0.9 per cent in the West Midlands. And Unemployment in the region decreased by 0.9 per cent, despite the national figure remaining at the same level.

The inactivity rate also decreased by 0.2 per cent, in line with the national rate. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner said: “The West Midlands’ labour market continues to buck national trends as another period of strong jobs performance contrasts against weaker showings in other UK regions. These improvements indicate that the region’s economy is strong and crucially sees our employment and unemployment rates moving closer to national averages.

“Nevertheless our region still has challenges to overcome related to levels of productivity and skills gaps which businesses tell us are holding them back. As more of the West Midlands’ population moves into employment businesses are searching for talent in an increasingly small pool. Addressing supply-side problems will take time and require structural changes; such as those linked to the Government’s reforms to the apprenticeship system. However, there are a number of steps that business leaders can take in the short-term to generate growth and increase efficiency within their organisations, especially in relation to the ways in which they manage their employees."

“In February 2017, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce will be running the Growth Through People campaign.

“Throughout the month we will be working with partners to deliver a menu of activity which will challenge business leaders to think differently about how they work with their people and provide them with practical advice which they will be able to implement in their businesses almost instantly. Full details will be announced in the New Year.”

The final GBCC Quarterly Business Report of 2016 will be launched at a free breakfast at Birmingham City University on January 19 (7.30-9.30am).

The event will provide attendees with unique, up-to-date insight into the region’s economic performance.