Unemployment jumps with more young Welsh out of work

Unemployment in Wales has risen sharply by 16,000, bringing the total number of jobless people to 131,000.

Official figures put the unemployment rate at 9% and show a rising number of young people out of work.

The number of people aged 18 to 24 on jobseeker's allowance rose 600 last month.

The Welsh government called the figures "extremely disappointing" and said it would fund the creation of 12,000 jobs for young people over three years.

Overall, the claimant count was 78,300 last month - a rise of 6,500 or 9% this year.

The claimant count for 18 to 24-year-olds was 27,200 - 3,500 or 15% more than the same time last year.

'Do all we can'

Business and Enterprise Minister Edwina Hart pointed to the Welsh government's new £75m Jobs Growth Wales programme, which aims to create 4,000 jobs a year for three years for young jobseekers.

She said: "Today's figures are extremely disappointing and reflect the fragility of the global economy.

"Whilst many of the macro economic levers are the responsibility of the UK government we are continuing to do all we can to support businesses in Wales."

BBC Wales business correspondent Nick Servini said the figures for public sector jobs showed there were 10,000 fewer people being employed by the state in Wales than a year ago.

The gloomy unemployment figures were reflected across the UK.

UK-wide, unemployment has reached a 17-year high after 114,000 were added to official figures between June and August, with the total reaching 2.57m.

Youth unemployment reached a record high of 991,000, while the numbers claiming jobseeker's allowance increased for the seventh month in a row to 1.6m.

Some analysts have said the UK government's deficit reduction programme is hampering economic growth and political opponents have accused the Westminster coalition of cutting spending too quickly.

But Employment Secretary Chris Grayling said the "important reason why we are pursuing deficit reduction" was to retain the confidence of commercial markets and to encourage businesses to set up in the UK.


Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said: "It's clear now that the government's plan is hurting, but isn't working.

"There is a jobs crisis in Britain and the government urgently needs a plan to deal with it."

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said the launch of sector-based economies across the UK would offer training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview to up to 50,000 people over the next two years.

She welcomed an announcement from the Welsh government on the creation of enterprise zones to nurture businesses around Wales, but added: "I hope that swifter action will be undertaken in implementing them [zones] so that Wales does not fall behind its UK equivalents."

In the Senedd chamber, First Minister Carwyn Jones invited opposition parties to discuss proposals on how the Welsh government should spend a £40m windfall to boost the economy. The money is coming to Wales because of a council tax freeze in England.

Mr Jones said he wanted the money to be spent on "immediate actions to benefit the economy".

Plaid Cymru economy spokesman Alun Ffred Jones attacked the Labour administration in Cardiff Bay, saying: "The economic crisis is hitting us here in Wales now - but yet the Labour Welsh government still isn't taking any action."

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