THE number of workers on company payrolls in Dudley has fallen but remains above pre-pandemic levels, new figures show.

UK unemployment has dropped to its lowest figure in 50 years, according to official data from the Office for National Statistics, though soaring prices are still hitting the pockets of people across the nation as earnings fail to keep up with inflation.

In Dudley, 135,654 people were in payrolled employment in March, ONS figures show.

This was down from 135,822 the month before but up from 130,992 in March 2021.

At the start of the pandemic, 134,815 people were in payrolled jobs in the area.

Separate ONS figures also show there has been a fall in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the Dudley local authority area over the last year.

Around 10,315 people were on out-of-work benefits as of March 10, down by 4,085 from 14,400 at the same point the year before.

It meant 5.3% of the area's working population sought support in March.

The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work or employed but with low earnings.