Unemployment in Wales rises for third month in row

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Unemployment in Wales has risen for the third consecutive month, latest figures reveal.

New statistics show an increase of 5,000 in the last three months of 2010 compared to the previous quarter.

The Welsh rate of 8.4% compares with a UK average of 7.9%. Over the year, unemployment in Wales dropped 1,000 to 123,000 at the end of the year.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said the figures show the fragile nature of the jobs market and economy.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show employment in Wales has risen by 10,000 on the quarter and the numbers of people who are economically inactive has fallen by 13,000.

The number of people claiming jobseekers' allowance in Wales in January went up slightly to just over 71,000.

All but one of the 22 local authority areas showed falls in the claimant count rate in January 2011 compared to the previous year.

The only one not to see a fall in the rate was Cardiff, while the largest were in Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire.

Reacting to the figures, Mr Jones said the small increase in the claimant count showed that the nation's economic recovery had a long way to go.

He added: "Despite the tough financial settlement we have received from London, our focus is 100% on supporting the Welsh economy and doing all we can to create employment throughout the country and helping our private sector to grow."

Last week the Welsh Assembly Government announced a £5m support scheme, Adapt, which it said would provide training, advice and guidance to public sector staff facing redundancy.

It extends the ReAct scheme, set up in October 2008 to help private sector employees facing redundancy during the recession.

Both employees and employers can call the contact centre on 0800 100 900.

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