By Claire West

Business leaders in the West Midlands said the rise in employment figures is a false dawn.

Will Rogers, policy adviser at Birmingham Chamber Group said figures suggest the rise in employment may be primarily down to economically inactive people, such as students, finding work, rather than unemployed people getting jobs.

He said: "It is more important to note that the jobseekers allowance claimant count has risen and will undoubtedly rise more with proposed public sector cuts.

"West Midlands companies may not be strong enough to compensate for the 600,000 public sector jobs expected to go over the next five years. There are 636,900 public sector jobs in our region, which is 27 per cent of the total.

"If local authorities were to cut at least 20 per cent of their budgets, we could be looking at approximately 127,380 jobs being lost in the region.

"This is on top of the job losses already announced at Advantage West Midlands, and potentially others at the Government Office of the West Midlands - it all adds up to an extremely gloomy picture for consumers and business confidence.".