EMPLOYMENT across the Dudley borough increased by more than five times the national average last year with 6,000 more people in work, statistics show.

The UK Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) shows that 119,000 people were employed in Dudley in 2017 - a rise of 5.3 per cent from the 2016 figure of 113,000.

That increase for Dudley’s local authority area - which includes Stourbridge and Halesowen - is better than the Black Country average increase of four per cent.

It is also almost five times better that the average national increase of 1.1 per cent.

Of the four local authority areas that make up the Black Country, Dudley enjoyed the second highest employment growth.

Its figure of 5.3 per cent was behind Walsall’s 6.7 per cent but was more than double the 2.3 per cent and two per cent experienced in Sandwell and Wolverhampton respectively.

In the Black Country overall, there were more than 18,000 extra employees in 2017 than in the previous year, taking the total number of jobs in the area to 463,000 and making it one of the best-performing regions in the country.

Sarah Middleton, chief executive of the Black Country Consortium, said: “What fantastic news for the Black Country with property, construction, business and food and accommodation jobs driving the high growth.

“Across our local authority areas, we have seen consistent growth, higher than the national average, demonstrating that the Black Country is thriving as a place to both live and work.”