Unemployment in Wales continues to fall

Man walking into a job centre Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The unemployment rate in Wales is now higher than that for the UK as a whole

Unemployment continued to fall in Wales between April and June, official figures show.

The jobless total in Wales now stands at 97,000, down by 3,000 on the previous three months, and 25,000 fewer than a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The UK unemployment total also fell by 132,000 to 2.08 million, a rate of 6.4% compared to 6.7% in Wales.

The Welsh and UK governments both claimed credit for the fall in Wales.

'Right conditions'

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "This continued fall in unemployment in Wales is a strong indication that our strategies are paying off, creating opportunities and safeguarding jobs for the people of Wales."

Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson said: "These latest job figures are another clear sign that the UK government's long term economic plan is working by reducing long term welfare dependency and creating the right conditions for growth and prosperity."

However, Rhodri Evans from the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales was concerned that the number of people actually working in Wales also fell by 12,000 compared to the previous three months.

He said: "If Wales is to prosper then we need to be creating jobs, but these figures show there are now fewer people in employment in Wales than at the same point a year ago.

"It is vital the Welsh government supports measures such as apprenticeship schemes that help small firms to create employment if we are to provide more employment in our communities."

Analysis by economics correspondent Sarah Dickins

Since the financial crisis of 2008, Wales has on the whole had a higher rate of unemployment than the rest of the UK.

In recent months we've seen that rate of unemployment become broadly similar to the UK average .

There's now a divide again between a rate of 6.4% in the UK and 6.7% in Wales, which is not good news.

What is however, is that unemployment was 3,000 lower between April and June than between January and March and 25,000 lower than the figures published this time last year.

We can also see that any recovery happening here in Wales isn't happening as quickly as in other parts of the UK, such as south-east England, with its unemployment rate of just 4.4% and south-west England at 5.3%

Another figure causing anxiety is the number of people counted as economically inactive - people not working for a number of reasons, like being carers or having a long-term illness.

There's been an 18,000 increase in that figure in Wales in the three months to June .

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