Press release

Alun Cairns hails buoyant economy as unemployment hits lowest level in a decade

The unemployment rate in Wales has dropped to its lowest level in a decade with a dynamic Welsh jobs market outperforming the rest of the UK.

The unemployment rate in Wales has dropped to its lowest level in a decade with a dynamic Welsh jobs market outperforming the rest of the UK.

Labour market statistics published today show more than 1.4 million people are now in work – just below record levels. The unemployment rate in Wales fell faster than any other UK region over the year - and is now 0.3 per cent lower than the unemployment rate for the UK as a whole.

Headlines from today’s statistics are:

  • The employment level in Wales is up 4,000 over the quarter and the rate is up 0.6 percentage points to 72.6 per cent, a new record high. Over the year the level increased by 45,000 and the rate was up 1.9 percentage points. There are 1.454 million people in employment, just 1,000 below the record high reached in the January to March period.
  • The unemployment level is down 6,000 over the quarter, with the rate down by 0.4 percentage points to 4.6 per cent. Over the year the unemployment level decreased by 30,000, with the rate down 2.0 percentage points. There were 70,000 unemployed people in the latest data, the lowest since early 2008, and the unemployment rate is now at its lowest since 2005.
  • Economic inactivity is down 4,000 compared to the previous quarter, with the rate falling by 0.2 percentage points. Over the year economic inactivity was down 7,000 and the rate was down 0.3 percentage points.
  • Total employment for the UK increased by 176,000 over the last quarter with the rate up by 0.3 percentage points. Employment was up over the year by 624,000 (rate up by 1.0 percentage points). The UK employment rate of 74.4 per cent is at a record high.

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said:

Across Wales, a buoyant economy and changes to welfare are creating a climate where businesses and entrepreneurs feel confident to expand and take on staff.

Brexit will mean significant challenges but entrepreneurs thrive on change. Business leaders are telling me they are optimistic about the future and excited about export opportunities further afield. We are making the UK trade and industry team available to help Welsh businesses explore new markets and demonstrate that Wales is open for business.