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Regional Profiles: Economy - West Midlands, May 2012

Released: 30 May 2012 Download PDF

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Economic inactivity rates, Q4 2011

Difference between region and UK average

Percentage point difference between economic inactivity rate for region and UK average, by region, 2011
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics


  1. Based on the population aged 16 to 64-year-olds in private households, student halls of residence and NHS accommodation
  2. Seasonally adjusted

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The West Midlands has one of the highest economic inactivity rates in England. Birmingham in particular has a high unemployment rate and low employment rate. By contrast, Solihull has a productivity level above the UK average.

The West Midlands economic inactivity rate was nearly 25 per cent of the population aged 16 to 64 in Q4 2011, 2 percentage points above the UK average of 23 per cent. See how the percentage of economically active and inactive residents at local authority level has changed over time.

The unemployment rate was 9.3 per cent in the period October to December 2011, above the UK average of 8.4 per cent. The model-based unemployment rates within the region ranged from 13.1 per cent in Birmingham to 4.1 per cent in Stratford-on-Avon in the year ending September 2011. Investigate how unemployment rates have changed over time at regional level in the UK.

The employment rates within the region ranged from 57.3 per cent in Birmingham (one of the lowest in England) to 78.0 in East Staffordshire. The regional employment rate was 68.0 per cent in Q4 2011, below the average of 70.3 per cent for the UK.

Productivity, as measured by gross value added (GVA) per hour worked, was 86 per cent of the UK rate in 2010 – one of the lowest of the English regions. Within the region, productivity ranged from 77 per cent of the UK rate in Herefordshire to 107 per cent in Solihull in 2009.

Gross disposable household income (GDHI) of West Midlands residents was one of the lowest among the English regions, at £14,000 per head in 2010. It ranged from £12,230 in Birmingham to £17,020 in Solihull. This equates to 77.8 per cent of the UK average to 108.2 per cent respectively.

In 2009 manufacturing generated 13 per cent of the West Midland’s total GVA, ahead of the UK average of 10 per cent. GVA by industry in the UK interactive map allows users to see how other industries contribute to the GVA of the area.

The West Midlands contributes over 7 per cent of the UK’s GVA. The region’s headline GVA was £93.1 billion in 2010.The latest subregional data (2009) show that the West Midlands metropolitan area generated nearly half the region’s GVA (£45.8 billion).

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Notes:

    The data section of this release provides more economic data.

    Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates are seasonally adjusted Labour Force Survey (LFS) headline indicators. Regional employment and economic inactivity rates are data for all people aged 16 to 64. Subregional data are from the Annual Population Survey (APS), October 2010-September 2011.

    Labour market indicators are defined in the Glossary.

    Local Labour Market webpage provides access to the latest releases for employment, unemployment, inactivity, claimant count and other labour market data.

    Model-Based Estimates of ILO Unemployment for LAD/UAs cover all people aged 16 or over.

    Gross value added (GVA) is a key measure of economic performance. The data are consistent with the headline workplace based series, which allocates the incomes of individuals to their place of work.

    Labour productivity webpage provides access to the latest releases. The Productivity handbook looks at measuring productivity at a regional level. The Subregional productivity March 2012 article provides analysis at a subregional level.

    GVA per head interactive map shows how GVA varies relative to the population of an area. GVA per head is not a measure of productivity.

    Gross disposable household income (GDHI) covers the income received by households and non profit-making institutions serving households and is net of tax payments.

    Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC2007) defines the industries.

  2. Source:

    All data are published by ONS.

  3. You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit the National Archives website or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email:

  4. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Further information

Portrait of the West Midlands, July 2011 (Pdf 2255Kb) - The Portrait of the West Midlands presents a wide range of information covering infrastructure, demographic, environmental and economic statistics for the region. It includes information for districts, unitary and local authorities which allows comparison between the various areas and the rest of the UK.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.