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Figures show fall in West Midlands unemployment

21 April 10 15:08 GMT

The number of people out of work in the West Midlands fell in the first three months of the year, figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the region fell by 6,000 to 253,000.

The drop was welcomed by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce who said it was testimony to the efforts of employers in keeping people in work.

Nationally the number rose by 43,000 to 2.5 million, the highest since 1996.

The last time figures for the region - Birmingham and the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire - fell was in the third quarter of last year, the ONS said.

Katie Teasdale, the Chamber's head of policy, said the latest fall was testimony to the efforts of public agencies and employers in what had been "appalling" business conditions.

She said: "Our Quarterly Economic Survey for Quarter 1 reinforced that businesses are still implementing measures like reduced hours and part-time working to retain staff."

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