Press release

Employment continues to rise in Wales and across the UK

There are 6,000 more people in work in Wales than three months ago.

Employment statistics

Rising levels of employment are a clear demonstration that Wales is open for business, Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns said today (12 April).

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the employment rate in Wales has increased 0.5% across the quarter and 0.9% over the year.

This mirrors the picture across the UK where employment rose 0.1% over the quarter and 0.5% over the year.

The employment rate throughout the UK is at the joint highest level since records began.

Headlines figures from the Labour Market Statistics are:

  • The employment level in Wales is up 6,000 over the quarter to 1.466 million. Over the year, the Welsh employment level increased by 11,000.
  • Economic inactivity is down 18,000 over the quarter to 441,000 and the rate is down by 0.9 percentage points to 23.2 per cent. Over the year, the level decreased by 16,000 and the rate was down 0.8 percentage points.
  • Total employment for the UK rose by 39,000 over the quarter to 31,841 million. The rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 74.6 per cent. Over the year, the level increased by 312,000 and the rate by 0.5 percentage points. The employment rate is at a joint record high.
  • Total UK unemployment decreased by 45,000 over the quarter to 1.559 million, the rate also fell to 4.7%. Over the year, the unemployment level fell by 141,000 and the rate by 0.4 percentage points. It has not been lower since July to September 1975.
  • The unemployment level in Wales is up 8,000 over the quarter to 74,000. Over the year, the level decreased by 2,000 and the rate was down 0.1 percentage point.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said:

I’m delighted to see that 6,000 more people are in work across Wales than three months ago and the unemployment rate is lower than it was this time last year.

Companies are continuing to demonstrate their confidence in the Welsh workforce, as I saw for myself at Aston Martin in St Athan last week. This prestigious company’s investment will create a lasting legacy for the region, bringing 750 jobs and a further 1,000 across the supply chain to the area. The Ministry of Defence’s £330 million contract awarded to General Dynamics UK will also support 300 high-tech jobs in South Wales.

The UK Government is committed to ensuring that Wales remains open for business. I hope more companies will follow Aston Martin’s lead and decide to invest in Wales.


The data for employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and earnings compare December 2016 to February 2017 with September 2016 to November 2016 (quarter-on-quarter) and with December 2015 to February 2016 (over the year).

Visit the ONS website for further information on the latest Labour Market Statistics

Published 12 April 2017