UK unemployment figures released this week show another fall in the last three months. The total figure stands at 1.96 million, showing a fall of 63,000 in the quarter to the end of October. It also showed the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance had also fallen by 26,900 to 900,100. The figures come from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, jobless figures in Wales showed a rise of 8,000, making Wales the UK country with the greatest rise in unemployment.
Welsh Secretary for State, Stephen Crabb MP, said of the pattern of a fall in unemployment that it was, ‘a positive long term trend but these figures show there’s no room for complacency.’ Responding to the figures, a Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Unemployment in Wales is lower than at the same time last year, while youth unemployment is still falling faster in Wales than in the UK. “Employment in Wales remains well above its historic average and claimant count is at its lowest rate since 2008.
When these figures are considered alongside other key economic indicators, such as the largest increase in GVA per head in the UK and record inward investment, it is clear that our policies are making a difference, supporting jobs and growth right across Wales.” However, Assembly Shadow Minister for Business, Conservative AM William Graham, said: “With the UK set to be the fastest growing economy in the G7 and the UK unemployment rate falling again, there is still more that Welsh Labour ministers must do to ensure Wales benefits.
Labour has a number of economic levers at its disposal here and its Government must work in close partnership with UK colleagues.” Plaid Cymru Shadow Economy Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth, expressed alarm at Wales’ position in the UK, saying: “The new employment figures suggest a sudden and negative reversal in our economic fortunes. “The Welsh economy has been making progress recently when it comes to creating more private sector jobs.
By 2013 the economy had created 75,000 new jobs, and Welsh GVA growth was the quickest per head in the United Kingdom. “But in 2014 we appear to have lost about 41,000 jobs, which will probably make a big dent in the GVA figures for this year and see us fall further behind. “Plaid Cymru has always been clear that Wales does have the potential to outperform the UK. What we need now is for the Welsh and UK Governments to come up with an explanation for this sudden and sharp reversal in our employment figures.”