Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 11:18 UK

Recession continues to grind out

Nick Servini graphic
By Nick Servini

Job Centre Plus

BBC Wales' business correspondent gives his latest assessment of the state of the Welsh economy.

We're now in the slow grinding period in the middle of this recession. Most company directors I speak to in Wales are keeping their heads down looking to get through the summer and the autumn. Few people are expecting any kind of significant improvement until next year.

In the meantime many are likely to continue with their recruitment and pay freezes, short-time working and their bans on overtime.

Even when things do pick up I'd expect much of the recruitment to be on a temporary or agency basis. Managing directors will want to be totally confident the recovery is real and lasting before the staff rotas grow again.

Wales got hit hard and early in the recession. Does that mean Wales will come out quicker than other areas? Probably not, but at the same time there's no reason why Wales should suffer any worse.

Some of the latest unemployment figures are encouraging. At the moment at least the numbers of people out of work are not increasing in Wales. They suggest other areas in the north of England and the west Midlands are having a tougher time.

If you've ever wondered what happens to the workforce after a round of mass redundancies, we got an idea recently courtesy of the cosmetics firm L'Oreal.

The 'pot line' at Anglesey Aluminium
Anglesey Aluminium says it will end production in September

It was one of the first manufacturers to make cutbacks in the autumn when it announced it was selling its factory in Llantrisant near Cardiff to another company which is operating with a slimmed down workforce.

In all, 200 people lost their jobs. If you take out redeployments and people who have retired or gone back into education, there are 130 left. And out of those, just under 40 are still looking. More than 20 have even started their own companies.

These appear to be exceptionally good figures. If their success is only partially repeated then they show there are opportunities out there.

The recruitment agency Acorn has just reported record rates of activity in the first four months of 2009 at its offices in Flint and Wrexham. The success has been put down to opportunities in food manufacturing and the holiday industry.

However any scan of recent headlines will bring you down to earth quickly. Anglesey Aluminium is making 250 workers redundant and the steel industry is still in serious trouble, with Corus continuing to announce losses.

It's a more complex picture than it was six months ago but we're certainly not through the recession yet.

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