Unemployment figure rises slightly in Wales

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Unemployment rose slightly in Wales between August and October.

There were 2,000 more people looking for work than the previous three months, May to July.

However, compared with a year ago there were 21,000 fewer people unemployed in Wales, according to the ONS.

The Welsh rate of unemployment is now 4.3%, still lower than the UK rate of 4.8%. There were fewer people employed in the UK and Wales in the last quarter.

But this was still more than a year ago.

These latest figures from the Office for National Statistics are not the first to show a slight rise in unemployment in Wales.

Labour market statistics published in November showed an increase of 3,000 compared with the previous three months. The latest show an increase of 2,000.

But looking at the actual numbers of people unemployed in Wales in the monthly surveys, it does not suggest that there is any clear trend.

The figures published on Wednesday put unemployment at 65,000; the ones published in November put it at 67,000 while it was 65,000 in the October statistics.

The Labour Market statistics are a survey of what is happening in businesses across Wales over three months and monthly changes can be misleading.

These figures today do not necessarily suggest that the trend of lower unemployment is ending, rather that employment levels are flat.

Despite seeing a small rise in unemployment, for the second time, Wales still has the lowest rate of unemployment in the UK - after the south east and south west of England.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said it was great to end the year with Wales having experienced record levels of employment.

"The figures today are a testament to Wales' ability to create the climate where businesses can thrive and are confident about the opportunities facing them," he said.

"This coupled with the announcement that the Aston Martin's new manufacturing facility at St Athan in Wales received the green light today shows that businesses have the confidence to expand in Wales.

"There is more work to do but we will look forward to 2017 with renewed optimism."

First Minister Carwyn Jones also welcomed the Aston Martin announcement, adding: "As a pro-business government we are continuing to work hard to support the right economic conditions to help create and safeguard jobs right across Wales."

He said the figures were "evidence of our success in developing high quality employment opportunities across all parts of the country".

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