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A review of the Black Country economy and labour market from the PricewaterhouseCoopers West Midlands Business Surveys: 1994-1998This paper updates previous research papers and looks specifically at the economy and labour market of the Black Country focusing on a set of business performance, recruitment, training and skills issues. The report also “locates” the Black Country in the context of the West Midlands Region and in the context of recent macro-economic changes which are affecting different parts of the UK economy differentially. Reference is also made to the level of innovation in the Black Country and the region and to other “structural” issues as it is contended that levels of innovation, capital expenditure and training will largely determine the future health of the sub-regional economy. Uniquely, the questionnaire is targeted towards the most senior managers in West Midlands businesses: around 60% of respondents are Chairmen, Chief Executives or Managing Directors. Analysis of the data yields some insights into recent changes in the Black Country economy labour market viewed from the apex of a representative cross-section of around 1,000 regional businesses almost 300 of which are located in the four Black Country boroughs of Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall and Sandwell. This analysis can be used to augment economic and labour market intelligence derived from more traditional, nationally published sources. This report has been based on the West Midlands Business Survey which is funded by PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Midlands. Their support is gratefully acknowledged.