Wales

Unemployment rises by 1,000 in Wales

There has been a slight rise in unemployment in Wales, according to latest figures.

For the three months to the end of January, it went up by 1,000 and now stands at 134,000.

The figures show an unemployment rate of 9.1%, which compares with a UK average of 8.4%. Unemployment on the year has risen by 10,000.

The Office for National Statistics says the claimant count for jobseekers' allowance went up by 700 in Wales.

The number now claiming jobseekers' allowance is just below 80,000.

The latest figures following two consecutive falls in unemployment in Wales, with drops of 3,000 and 1,000.

Overall in the UK, unemployment rose by 28,000 to 2.67 million during the three months to January.

There was also a reduction in numbers counted as economically inactivity in Wales of 14,000 during the quarter and a rise in employment in the same period of 21,000.

'Outperformed'

Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan said: "This is the third consecutive set of figures to show employment levels rising in Wales. They show we are moving in the right direction as we try to rebuild the economy.

"However, there remains much still to do, with the unemployment rate in Wales still unacceptably high at 9.1%."

The Welsh government said there were "encouraging signs" emerging in Wales.

Business minister Edwina Hart said: "For the third month in a row the Welsh labour market employment rate and inactivity rate has outperformed the UK as a whole, over both the quarter and the year."

"We are doing all we can as a devolved government to stimulate the economy to reduce the barriers businesses face, encourage demand and investing for the longer term."

The latest public sector employment figures have also been released, up to the end of 2011.

They show that 335,000 people worked in the public sector in Wales by the end of last year - a rise of 2,000 on the quarter. But there was an 8,000 reduction during the whole of 2011, a cut of 2.2%. That compares with a reduction in England over the same period of 4.7%.

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