Wales

Rate of unemployment in Wales falls again

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Media captionWelsh Secretary Stephen Crabb is particularly encouraged that youth unemployment is falling

The unemployment rate in Wales has fallen again from 6.7% to 6.5%.

A total of 94,000 people were unemployed in Wales between June and August this year, down by 3,000 compared to the previous three months.

However, there were still 32,000 fewer people in work in Wales compared to the same period in 2013.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said the drop showed the government's polices were "making a difference, creating and safeguarding jobs".

"The fall in youth unemployment, which is faster in Wales than elsewhere in the UK, is particularly encouraging."

Falling rate welcomed

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb welcomed the drop in numbers, saying he was also pleased there had been a fall in youth unemployment.

"It's so important that we get young people across Wales their first step on the job ladder," he said.

Analysis by economics correspondent Sarah Dickins

Although the drop in unemployment is good news, not all the figures should be interpreted that way.

Compared to this time last year, the number of people working in the Welsh economy has reduced - down by 32,000.

Therefore we can't say that because there's been a fall in unemployment there are more people working. That's not the case.

Add to that there were some 47,000 more people in Wales counted as "economically inactive".

They could have given up work to care for children, they might be students or young entrants into the labour market, or they might be sick.

But for whatever reason, that's fewer wage packets coming into Wales, fewer wage packets being spent, and so our economy has worsened as a result.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Business, William Graham AM, also welcomed the figures but was less enthusiastic than Mr Crabb.

He said: "There are encouraging signs within these figures, but it is clear that the economic recovery in Wales remains fragile.

"More action can be taken to support businesses and help create the conditions for economic growth in Wales."

Slower rate criticised

Eluned Parrott AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat economy spokeswoman, was critical of the speed at which unemployment was falling.

She said: "While unemployment in Wales has fallen yet again, it is continuing to fall at a much slower rate than the UK as a whole.

"We must ask why 6.5% of our workforce is out of work and why other parts of the UK are continuing to recover faster."

Unemployment for the UK as a whole has fallen by 154,000 in the same period, falling from a rate of 6.2% to 6%.

Plaid Cymru's economy spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said: "Unemployment in Wales continues to fall, and this is to be welcomed. But employment is still lower in Wales than before the recession and this is a matter of concern.

"Despite unemployment falling, rates of economic inactivity remain stubbornly high - the highest levels in the UK. Many of these are people who want to be in work and want to contribute to the economy."

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