Welsh unemployment falls again

The latest labour force survey for Wales and the UK – published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics – shows that the number of people unemployed in Wales fell again, while total UK unemployment rose again.

Last month’s comparable statistics showed that seasonally adjusted unemployment in Wales fell by 1,000 compared with the previous quarter.

This month’s statistics showed that unemployment fell by 2,000 over the quarter. The total number of people unemployed in Wales stood at 108,000 – an unemployment rate of 7.6 per cent compared with a UK average rate of 7.8 per cent.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said:

“Having seen unemployment figures in Wales in 4 successive sets of figures either flat-line or improve, this is looking increasingly like an improving trend rather than a blip.

“When I welcomed last month’s figures, I cautioned that recession still has some way to go. That of course is still the case, but today’s figures show that Wales’s relative performance has continued to improve – and that’s extremely encouraging in the light of the intense efforts that the Assembly Government has made to counter the impact of a global recession.”

Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport Ieuan Wyn Jones added:

“From the very outset of the downturn, the Assembly Government has striven to use its powers to maximum effect.

“For example, we have brought forward public sector construction projects to support the hard pressed construction sector; reduced the amount of time it takes to pay suppliers to the public sector; boosted finance available for business support; utilised Convergence spending to maximise the benefit to businesses in Wales and helped preserve the jobs of several thousand workers through our ProAct scheme.

“Today’s figures show that Wales’s relative performance has continued to improve – with Wales again performing somewhat better than the UK over the quarter. This is a matter for encouragement but not complacency.

“We have acted swiftly and decisively to try to ensure that the impact of the crisis is as short and shallow as possible in Wales and I believe that our response to date has been effective.

“However there are still challenges to face. I will continue to listen to the concerns of businesses across Wales and together we will continue to seek solutions to the challenges they face. We are already preparing additional measures to help businesses to get through – and we remain absolutely determined to continue to do everything we can to lead Wales out of recession.”

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