Welsh unemployment up 2,000 in three months to January

Unemployment in Wales has risen by 2,000 in the last quarter to 126,000, which is 7,000 lower than the same period last year.

The latest figures for the three months to the end of January put the unemployment rate at 8.7%.

The UK jobless figure rose by 27,000 to 2.53m, the highest since 1994.

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said unemployment was "choppy" and Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones called the job market stable but fragile.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance in Wales fell in February by 1,100 to 70,300.

The claimant count also dropped in the UK by 10,200 to 1.45m.

Mrs Gillan has met JobCentre Plus Wales director Linda Badman to discuss how JobCentre Plus was helping to support people off benefits and back into employment or training in Wales.

She said: "Although the unemployment situation in Wales remains choppy, there was also a fall in Welsh claimant count unemployment in February as more people moved off jobseeker's allowance than moved onto it."

Mr Jones said: "Although the new statistics suggest broad stability in the labour market both for Wales and the UK, the overall picture remains one of fragility."

"We will continue to do what it takes to attract and develop well paid, high quality jobs to ensure we maintain this improvement and drive forward our economic recovery."

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