Unemployment remains flat in Wales

Job centreImage source, PA

The unemployment rate in Wales has fallen slightly to 4.5% over the last month, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figure between April and June is the lowest since last November.

The total unemployed for May stood at at 67,000, compared to 70,000 in the previous month.

Compared with the previous three months, unemployment in Wales was 6,000 lower but it was 2,000 higher when compared with a year earlier.

The ONS statistics also show that there were 24,000 fewer people at work in Wales between March and May than between January and March and that only the West Midlands and Northern Ireland have a smaller proportion of the population in work.

The UK unemployment rate has not been lower since April to June 1975.

The ONS's senior labour market statistician Matt Hughes said: "The employment picture remains strong, with a new record high employment rate and another fall in the unemployment rate.

"Despite the strong jobs picture, however, real earnings continue to decline."

Media caption,

Gareth Dawe, customer services lead for Job Centre Plus in Cardiff said people had to apply for jobs that were right for them

Analysis by Sarah Dickins, BBC Wales economics correspondent

When we ask about the weakness of the Welsh economy perhaps we should focus less on unemployment and more on employment.

While UK and Wales jobless rates have been pretty similar for a couple of years, there is a bigger gap between the rates of people working .

Across the UK, 75.1% of 16-64 year olds are working but only 72.7% in Wales. Only the West Midlands and Northern Ireland have lower rates.

So what is holding back those who are unemployed? For many its lack of qualifications. Some have left school to become parents while for others, jobs that would not have in the past needed qualifications like some cleaning or labouring jobs now to depend on them.

The jobs market has changed radically. More jobs are part time; more involve agencies, are short term or insecure.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: "These latest set of figures for Wales demonstrate that job creation doesn't just happen - we have to create the right conditions for economic growth.

"While I welcome the fall in unemployment, it is concerning that employment is down and more people are dropping out of the labour market in Wales when, in the rest of the UK, the figures are moving in the right direction."

He said the UK Government was determined to continue to develop the right conditions for economic growth, investment and jobs in Wales.

"Because these are not just statistics - behind the fall in employment are thousands of people in Wales who deserve the security and opportunity that a job brings," Mr Cairns added.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said it was "another steady performance" for Wales.

"As a government we remain committed to investing in the infrastructure that Wales needs to prosper and grow and to creating the economic conditions that will result in the high quality jobs that people here want and need," he said.