Unemployment falls by 7,000 in Wales to 126,000

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Media captionSusan Jackson: "As soon my age is known, that is held against me"

Unemployment fell by 7,000 in Wales between April and June to 126,000, latest figures show.

However, the number of unemployed in Wales has risen by 2,000 since the same time last year.

Across the UK the number of people out of work fell by 46,000 to 2.56m over the three months, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said unemployment has now fallen in five out of the last six months.

The Welsh government said Wednesday's figures were the most positive batch of statistics on unemployment in recent months, but that Wales' economic prospects remained "uncertain".

Unemployment fell 7% for men and 1% for women in the quarter to June.

But unemployment has been rising faster for women over the past year. Some 15,000 more women are out of work than the same time last year - a rise of 37.8%.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell slightly to 79,600 during July.

Ms Gillan said: "The employment rise is the fourth highest behind London, the north west and the south west and is above the overall rise in the UK rate.

"There are also encouraging signs that youth unemployment is stabilising."

She added that both the UK and Welsh governments must work together to improve opportunities for young people in the months ahead.

Welsh government Business Minister Edwina Hart pointed out that the number of people in work rose 5,000 during the quarter.

She said the Welsh government would "continue our focus on supporting businesses to safeguard and create jobs while the economic prospects for Wales and the rest of the UK remain very uncertain, particularly due to the unpredictable situation in the eurozone".

The news comes as 70 apprentices are being taken on in north west Wales in a £900,000 project backed by the Welsh government.


Despite the figures there are still concerns the jobless figures will rise again, according to the head of EEF Cymru, the Engineering Employers' Federation which represents the manufacturing industry.

Chair Gareth Jenkins told BBC Wales that unless the economy improves within six months then unemployment will go up.

Shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith said he did not share Mrs Gillan's "enthusiasm".

"After all, it's the government's complacency on the economy, combined with their incompetency, that's taken us into the deepest double-dip recession in over 50 years," he said.

The Conservatives' business spokesman in the assembly, Nick Ramsay, said: "These figures, along with news of record investment by the UK government in Welsh transport infrastructure represent a significant step in restoring confidence to Wales' economic recovery."

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