However BCC Issues Caution
West Midlands business leaders welcomed today’s announcement by the Office for National Statistics that 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.
Nationally, unemployment has fallen to 7.1 per cent from 7.6 per cent in the same time frame, bringing the total number of unemployed people to 2.3 million.
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.
“In our latest Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2013, 55 per cent of manufacturers said they had attempted to take on new staff, and 63 per cent said they had faced difficulties in doing so. This was a similar story for service sector firms.
“We are supporting Birmingham City Council’s ‘Young Talent for Business’ initiative, a programme which helps employers access grants to encourage them to take on new staff.
“These incentives have been introduced to make it as easy and affordable as possible for Birmingham’s employers to offer paid roles to young people.”
“Today’s figure shows that the gap between the regions is beginning to close, which is good news. The West Midlands has fallen from second to joint third place with London on the unemployment league table.”