Economic statistics published today [12 December] show that the Welsh economy is continuing to show positive signs of recovery, said the Secretary of State for Wales David Jones.
The latest employment figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the employment level in Wales has increased by 4,000 over the last quarter. The growth in the employment rate in Wales over the last quarter and year was above the average for the UK as a whole.
Unemployment has fallen by 15,000 over the same period with youth unemployment falling for the second consecutive month. The fall in the unemployment rate in Wales over the last quarter and year was the second largest of all the devolved countries and English regions and well above the fall across the UK as a whole
The annual Gross Value Added (GVA) statistics, also published today, showed that the gap in GVA per head in Wales relative to the UK average has narrowed over the last two years. Wales has seen the third largest increase in GVA per head between 2010 and 2011 of any devolved country and English region.
However, Wales still has the lowest GVA per head of any devolved country or English region, standing at 25% below the UK average.
Mr Jones said:
The latest figures have underlined the importance of Welsh government ministers working with their UK government counterparts to maximise economic growth potential in Wales.
Our labour market continues to out-perform other parts of the UK, with an extra 4,000 people in employment in Wales over the last quarter, and an extra 38,000 finding employment over the last year.
The second consecutive monthly fall in youth unemployment in Wales, coupled with the 0.1 percentage point fall in the claimant count is also welcome news. It shows that that this government is taking the correct steps to kick-start our economy.
The GVA figures released today have shown that, in Wales we are starting to narrow the gap in relation to the UK average and that our efforts to rebalance the UK economy are bearing fruit.
It is heartening to see that Wales had the third largest increase in GVA per head between 2010 and 2011 of any devolved country and English region.
However, while these figures are moving in the right direction, there is still much work to do. Wales still has the lowest GVA per head of any devolved county or English region, and more needs to be done to encourage economic growth in Wales to close this gap.
The measures announced in the Autumn Statement last week will help Wales and the rest of the UK to maintain its path on the road to recovery.
The Welsh government will receive an additional £227 million of capital funding which I hope they will invest in projects that will stimulate jobs and growth in Wales.
Now is the time for delivery and results and the people of Wales will want to see less talking and more action, to ensure that Wales is ahead of the game. They will also, quite properly, expect their two governments to work together to that end.
The message is clear - we need to continue to put the conditions in place to support long-term economic growth across Wales and the rest of the UK.
Notes for editors
- Employment in Wales increased by 4,000 over the last quarter (August to October 2012 with May to July 2012). The increase in the employment rate in Wales over the last quarter (+0.5 percentage points) was the fifth largest of all the devolved countries and English regions and well above the increase seen across the UK as a whole (+0.1 percentage points).
- ILO unemployment in Wales has fallen by 15,000 over the last quarter with a 0.9 percentage points fall in the ILO unemployment rate. This fall was the second largest of all the devolved countries and English regions and larger than the fall seen across the UK as a whole (-0.2 percentage points).
- Gross Value Added is the regional equivalent to the national Gross Domestic Product.