Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 13:09 UK

Latest figures show jobless rise

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Unemployment rose by 7,000 in Wales after two months of falls

Latest official figures show the numbers out of work are rising in Wales despite two months of falls.

Unemployment rose by 7,000 over the three months to July, bringing the total to 116,000, at a rate slightly above the UK average.

The assembly government said the statistics still compared well with other areas.

But the Conservatives said the figures made a mockery of claims the Welsh economy showed signs of resilience.

Across the UK unemployment stands at 2.47m, the highest level in 14 years according to the figures.

In Wales the unemployment rate is 8.1%, slightly more than the UK average of 7.0%.

The jobless figures in Wales, from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), had fallen in May and June and held steady in the previous month.

'Difficult challenges'

The latest figures showed Wales continued to improve its position relative to other parts of the United Kingdom, said an assembly government spokesman.

"Overall, these latest figures indicate that the relative improvement in the Welsh labour market over the past few months remains in place, with lower quarterly increases in unemployment and a smaller quarterly decline in employment when compared to the UK as a whole," he said.

"In addition, there was no change in the rate of economic inactivity in Wales over the quarter, compared to a rise in the UK."

But shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan said the latest statistics reflected the true state of the Welsh economy.

"Once again Wales has the highest unemployment rate of any UK nation. In the last 12 months 35,000 more people have found themselves out of work," she said.

"Over the last year 95 people a day have lost their jobs in Wales with one in four of working age economically inactive.

"The human scale of unemployment means families up and down the country face very difficult challenges which the UK and assembly governments are incapable of addressing."

Welsh Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Jenny Randerson, AM, said the assembly government had been bragging about the handling of the economy when Welsh families were suffering.

"Wales has been left badly placed to ride out this recession. This government is not building a resilient jobs market with a strong private sector and these figures show that is urgently needed."

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