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Regional Profile of West Midlands - Economy, June 2013

Released: 19 June 2013 Download PDF

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Economic inactivity rate in the West Midlands and UK, Q4 2007 to Q4 2012

West Midlands

West Midlands and UK economic inactivity rates at a record low in Q4 2012
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics


  1. Seasonally adjusted data for people aged 16-64

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West Midlands’ economic inactivity rate was at a record low in Q4 2012 but the region had not yet recovered from the decline in employment during 2008 and 2009.

The economic inactivity rate in the West Midlands was at a record low of 22.3% in Q4 2012, the same rate as the UK. The decline in the inactivity rate between Q4 2007 and Q4 2012 was one of the largest of the English regions, with the decrease of 1.8 percentage points taking place entirely since 2011.

Following a fall in the employment rate that took place in 2008 and 2009, the region’s employment rate increased between Q4 2010 and Q4 2012 by 2.8 percentage points. The employment rate stood at 70.8% in Q4 2012. Employment rates within the region for the year ending December 2012 ranged from 57.0% in Birmingham (one of the lowest in England) to 82.2% in both Rugby in Warwickshire and Redditch in Worcestershire.

The unemployment rate increased between Q4 2007 and Q4 2012, from 5.8% to 8.6%. Within the region, the rate ranged from 14.3% in Birmingham to 3.8% in Stratford-on-Avon for the year ending December 2012.

Gross disposable household income (GDHI) of West Midlands’ residents was one of the lowest among the English regions, at £14,400 per head in 2011. It ranged from £12,470 per head in Stoke-on-Trent to £17,360 per head in Solihull.

The West Midlands has seen its share of total UK gross value added (GVA) decline from 8.0% in 2001 to 7.3% in 2011. The region’s GVA was £95.3 billion in 2011, of which half was generated in the West Midlands metropolitan area (£48.7 billion). The conurbation’s share of the region’s GVA has declined since 2001 compared with the region’s other counties and unitary authorities of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Notes and sources:

    The data section of this release (939 Kb Excel sheet) provides more Economy data. All data are published by ONS.

    Gross disposable household income (GDHI) covers the income received by households and non profit-making institutions serving households and is net of tax payments. The data are unsmoothed.
    Use the GDHI per head interactive map to see how it has changed over time at regional level.

    Gross value added (GVA) is a key measure of economic performance. The data used here are consistent with the workplace based series, which allocates the incomes of individuals to their place of work, but are unsmoothed data for individual years.
    GVA interactive charts and maps allow users to select different regions and industries and see their relative significance over the period from 1997 to the latest available year.

    Labour Market
    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.
    Regional unemployment rates are data for all people aged 16 and over.
    Subregional employment data are from the Annual Population Survey (APS).
    Subregional unemployment data are from the Model-Based Estimates of ILO Unemployment for LAD/UAs, which uses APS and other data sources to calculate annual data every quarter.
    Regional labour market statistics provides access to the latest key labour market figures.
    Nomis provides access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources.
    Labour market indicators are defined in the Glossary.
    Interpreting labour market statistics.
    Investigate how unemployment rates have changed over time at regional level.

  2. Further analysis:

    170 Years of Industrial change across England and Wales - 2011 Census statistics provide a rich source of information about the number, distribution and characteristics of the population in England and Wales. 2011 Census Analysis products present specific analyses on a variety of topics, including ethnicity, families, health, labour market, language, migration, and national identity, and religion. In particular, many of the analyses focus on geographical variations, changes over time, and how the census differs to other data sources.

    Regional Economic Indicators, March 2013 article discusses a selection of economic indicators in order to gain an overview of the economic performance of UK regions and countries. In this release a particular focus has been applied to how the regions/countries have fared through the economic downturn that began in 2008.

    The Spatial Distribution of Industries article investigates the patterns of spatial concentration of industries across Great Britain. Data tools and maps are provided for users to explore the data.

    Characteristics of Individual Insolvencies including Bankruptcies, England and Wales, 2011 article explores individual insolvency by region, local authority, age, gender and insolvency type. It is designed to highlight the type of analysis that can be carried out using individual insolvency data and how to use the individual insolvency data visualisation tool. Data on individual insolvency is published by the Insolvency Service.

    The Supply Side of Tourism - The Geography of Tourism Employment report details various aspects of the supply side of tourism. It includes a national level analysis of Gross Value Added (GVA), turnover and employment in the defined set of tourism industries. It also includes an estimate of employment in tourism industries for the regions and nations of the UK. The set of tourism industries used is based on international recommendations.

  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 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.
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