West Midlands Unemployment Falls

17 December 2014, 12:04 | Updated: 17 December 2014, 12:08

The number of people out of work in the West Midlands has dropped by 14,000 according to the latest official figures.

187,000 people were out of work between August and October and that number was down by 6.8%.

A similar fall was also seen across the UK as a whole with 63-thousand fewer people out of work between August and October and the total number of unemployed falling to 1.96 million.

Average earnings excluding bonuses also went up by 1.6 per cent over the same period - compared to a year ago.

The Chancellor George Osbourne welcomed the news saying: "This is a major moment in the British recovery.

Not only do we have jobs being created and unemployment falling, but wages are now rising significantly above inflation.

"If we want this to continue at a time when there are many risks in the global economy, we have got to keep on working through our long-term economic plan.''

The Employment Minister Esther McVey also welcomed the figures pointing out that 95% of new jobs created in the past year were full-time.

She said that the UK had a "record-breaking" year on the employment front and was creating more jobs than its main economic rivals including the United States.

McVey was also pleased that wages were going up: "We said when we came into government that we wanted to save the economy, rebuild and rebalance the economy then see wages go up."

The shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves was less convinced though.

She said: "Today's fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but after four years when prices have risen faster than wages, working people are over £1,600 a year worse off since 2010.

"There is a huge amount of lost ground to catch up and while falling global oil prices have led to the rate of inflation going down, wages remain sluggish.

"Over the course of this parliament, working people are set to see the biggest fall in wages of any parliament since 1874/80.

"The Government's failure to tackle low pay is making it harder to get the deficit down."