Unemployment figures continue to fall in Wales

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Image caption Unemployment in Wales has also fallen more steeply than for the whole of the UK

Unemployment has continued to fall in Wales and is once again lower than the UK average, according to the latest figures.

The rate of unemployment in Wales for January to March fell to 4.8%.

The UK average was unchanged at 5.1%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Figures show the number of people working in Wales is also 74,000 higher than for the same period a year ago.

The number of people not working and not able to work is 26,000 lower.

Wales has seen the biggest proportional increase in employment of all the regions and nations of the UK in the last year.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns called it a "hat-trick of good news" for the Welsh jobs market with employment up, unemployment falling and a drop in the claimant count.

"Across the country, the investment we have put into rebalancing the economy and welfare reform is now paying dividends with record numbers coming off benefits and into work," he said.

"Yet again, we are seeing an unemployment rate below the national average as Wales shows an increasingly confident and entrepreneurial face to the world."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "It is pleasing to see the labour market in Wales outperform all other regions of the UK and continue to go from strength to strength.

"Over the past year Wales has also seen the largest fall in unemployment of any other part of the UK and now has a rate substantially below that in Scotland and the UK as whole."

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb called it "fantastic news".

"This month's figures show a record 1.45m people in work in Wales and the country's employment rate is at a record high of 72.5%.

"More people in work means that more families across the UK are benefiting from the security of a regular wage and the fulfilment that employment brings."

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