Page last updated at 12:55 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 13:55 UK

Unemployment rate in Wales rises above the UK average

A man searching for job vacancies
Wales' unemployment rate is the fourth worst across the UK regions

The number of unemployed people in Wales has risen over the last three months, official figures show.

The total number out of work in Wales is 133,000, amounting to 9% of the workforce, above the UK average of 8%.

However the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 2,000 to 75,700 from the previous quarter.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said the economic recovery "still has some way to go". Opposition parties called the figures "devastating".

Only Yorkshire/Humber (9.6%), north-east England and the English West Midlands (both 9.5%) have a higher unemployment rate, with Scotland's standing at 7.8% and Northern Ireland's at 6.4%.

Twelve of the 22 local authority areas in Wales showed increases in the claimant count rate in March 2010 compared to the previous year, with six showing falls and four showing no change.

The biggest increases in the rate were in Anglesey and Cardiff. The largest falls in the rate were in Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Neath Port Talbot.

'Global recession'

Mr Jones said the latest labour market figures showed some encouraging signs, with the claimant count going down by 2,000.

"However they also show economic recovery still has some way to go as we take our first, faltering steps out of the recession," he said.

"I have always been clear that this global recession has hit Wales hard and all of us have to work together to make sure Wales moves towards recovery."

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said the figures in Wales again showed a mixed picture.

"There is some encouragement in the fact that the claimant count in Wales is down, the number of those people in employment has risen in Wales, and economic inactivity is down as well," said Mr Hain.

"It is a matter of concern that the ILO [International Labour Organisation] survey figure of unemployment is up in Wales and across the UK, this survey includes students who are looking for work.

"We are redoubling our efforts to support those people who have lost their jobs, to find retraining and employment."

'Disproportionate'

Shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan said the figures were "devastating" for the individuals and families across Wales.

"Wales is suffering disproportionately from rising unemployment, accounting for almost a quarter of all UK jobs lost in the last three months."

Reacting to the latest figures Liberal Democrat Jenny Randerson said: "I am very depressed by them yet again. Unemployment is up in Wales. We have been warning for some months that the government has been overly complacent.

"The measures taken by the Welsh Assembly Government have clearly not worked. Comparatively with other parts of Britain, Wales is doing worse and this is not the end of the bad news. We are still looking very largely at private sector job losses."



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