The latest labour market statistics published today (16 April) show that the recovery in the Welsh economy is still fragile, but is showing some signs of improvement, said the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones.
The latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics show a positive change in the rate of unemployment in Wales, with a 3,000 decrease in the number of people out of work over the last quarter. Over the year, the fall in the unemployment rate in Wales was larger than across the UK as a whole.
While the employment level across Wales is unchanged, from the last quarter, over the year, employment in Wales has increased by 4,000. Youth unemployment rates have also fallen by 700 over the last month.
Mr Jones said:
This month’s figures show some welcome signs of improvement. I am particularly pleased to see that the unemployment rates in Wales are falling and that, over the year, the employment rate has increased.
However, while these figures are a welcome step-change, we must not be complacent. Only last week, we saw the disappointing closure of the Welsh Country Foods plant on Anglesey with the loss of 350 jobs.
This simply reinforces the need for constant vigilance and co-ordinated action across Governments to make sure we maximise opportunities to maintain and create employment in Wales.
The measures announced in the Budget last month will help Wales and the rest of the UK to maintain its path on the road to recovery. The largest ever increase in personal allowance for income tax has come into effect this month. This will have a significant impact on the Welsh economy as it will help to support employment and boost spending power. This Government has now taken 109,000 people in Wales out of income tax altogether, and the decision to increase the personal allowance to £10,000 next year will increase this figure to 130,000.
We also have to do more to turn the decrease in youth unemployment into a more positive trend so that our young people have access to the job opportunities they need. That is why next month, I will be hosting another Jobs Summit focussed on providing employers in Wales with the support they need to support young people into employment. From the Youth Contract to the Work Programme, the range of support available to help support young people into work is extensive and varied and the Summit provides the perfect platform to help get that message across.