Wales politics

Jobless rate in Wales rises above the UK average

Job centre Image copyright PA

The rate of unemployment in Wales has risen and is now higher than the UK average for the first time in a year.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show the rate of unemployment in Wales at 4.9% of 16-64 year olds, compared to 4.7% across the UK.

Between December and February, there were 74,000 people in Wales available for work but not employed, up 8,000 on the September-November figure.

But the employment rate also rose, to 73%, with 6,000 more people in work.

Both rates rose due to a fall in the third category, that of economically inactive people - those not in work or available to work.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said he was "delighted" with the increase in employment, adding that the jobless rate was lower than it was 12 months ago.

"Companies are continuing to demonstrate their confidence in the Welsh workforce, as I saw for myself at Aston Martin in St Athan last week," he said.

"The UK government is committed to ensuring that Wales remains open for business."

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the figures showed "growth and stability" in the Welsh labour market.

"At 73 per cent, the employment rate in Wales is just below its historic high record, while unemployment has fallen faster in Wales than across the UK as a whole over the past 12 months," he said.

"We are continuing to work well with business to create the right economic conditions to help create and safeguard jobs right across Wales."

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