Unemployment falls by 2,000 between February and April

Unemployment for women rose by 4,000, the Office for National Statistics said

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The number of people out of work shrank by 2,000 between February and April in Wales, according to official figures.

But unemployment for women rose by 4,000, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The overall jobless total fell thanks to a drop of 6,000 in male unemployment.

The ONS's monthly survey found unemployment was 132,000 during the quarter. Across the UK it fell by 51,000 to 2.61m.

Wales' unemployment rate of 9% is down 0.1%, but above the UK average of 8.2%.

Compared to the same three-month period last year, 17,000 more people in Wales were out of work.

Start Quote

We have a long way to go before employment levels can improve”

End Quote Cheryl Gillan MP Welsh Secretary

The number of jobseeker's allowance claimants climbed by 300 to 80,000 in May - 6,900 higher than it was in May 2011.

Although a bigger proportion of men are out of work, male unemployment has fallen in recent months while it rises for women.

'Challenging'

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said the UK and Welsh governments had to work together to create the right conditions for growth.

"Today's figures reveal that despite unemployment in Wales falling, we have a long way to go before employment levels can improve," she said.

"Wales is not immune to the uncertainties caused by the eurozone and what is essentially a complex and challenging labour market at the moment.

Business Minister Edwina Hart cited a "difficult global economic climate, made worse by the uncertainty caused by the unpredictable situation in the eurozone".

"The Welsh government is doing all we can within our existing powers to support the Welsh economy through theses uncertain times," she said.

Grants were available for businesses and funding was in place to create 4,000 jobs a year for young people, she added, "to address some of the very real difficulties being faced by businesses and jobseekers in Wales".

Plaid Cymru economy spokesman Alun Ffred Jones said Labour had to provide a "large scale boost" for the economy.

Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott said: "We've seen in the last few days jobs lost from Unilever and other firms as well as continued turmoil in the eurozone, which is denting business confidence and discouraging businesses from recruiting staff."

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