Secretary of State Cheryl Gillan has given a cautious welcome to the latest Labour Market Statistics published today, which show a continued decrease in the economic inactivity level and rate in Wales.
The economic inactivity level in Wales was 490,000, a drop of 7,000 on the previous three months, while the economic inactivity rate fell by 0.4 per cent on the last quarter to 25.9 per cent.
Mrs Gillan said: “There has now been an encouraging and maintained fall in economic inactivity in Wales for several months. 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 Jobseekers Allowance than moved onto it.
“These are promising signs, however we must continue to work together to overcome the legacy left to us by the previous Government. Economic inactivity in Wales remains higher than elsewhere in the UK, apart from Northern Ireland and the North East, while the employment rate remains the third lowest in the UK.”
The employment rate in Wales was 67.5 per cent, an increase of 0.4 per cent on the last quarter, while the unemployment rate was 8.7 per cent, a 0.1 per cent rise on the last quarter.
The Welsh Secretary met with JobCentre Plus Wales Director Linda Badman this week to discuss how JobCentre Plus was helping to support people off benefits and back into employment or training in Wales.
Mrs Gillan said: “We are committed to working in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions to send out the message that work always pays and with the Welsh Assembly Government to bring more businesses to Wales to increase the opportunities available to our ready and willing workforce.”