Unemployment rate rises most in Wales

Job interview line (stock image) Image copyright AndreyPopov/Getty Images

Unemployment has risen again in Wales, in the latest monthly figures issued by the Office for National Statistics.

The jobless rate is 4.9%, an increase of 0.8% in the three months to November - the highest proportional rise of any nation and region.

The employment rate is 72.7%, an increase on the previous three months but below the UK average of 75.3%.

The highest UK unemployment rate was in the West Midlands (5.5%) and the lowest was in south east England (3.0%).

Only the West Midlands, London, Yorkshire and the Humber had seen a rise in the unemployment rate, along with Wales.

The latest rise is an increase on the previous month's rate, which was 4.7% for the three month period. The UK unemployment rate remains steady at 4.3%.

There are now 73,000 people out of work in Wales, up 13,000 on the previous three month period. This is 7,000 more than the same time a year ago.

The unemployment rate for south east, along with the north east and north west of England are all at record or joint record lows.

The ONS said the "general picture across the UK, allowing for some individual volatility, is still an overall pattern of flat or gently falling unemployment rates".

The figures also show we are working longer hours in Wales - an increase of half an hour a week compared to the previous year.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the latest figures showed the employment rate was 0.3% up on the year and economic inactivity rate was also moving "in the right direction".

"We remain committed to doing all we can to drive up employment levels across Wales and today we have announced a new £2.5m EU-backed scheme to help unemployed people to overcome barriers into work," he said.

Mr Jones said the Welsh Government was also working hard to support employers to locate to and expand within Wales and he pointed to 275 new jobs at travel company TUI and global professional services company AON.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: "While I welcome the increase in the number of people in work and the fall in the economic inactivity rate, we must redouble our efforts to halt the rise in unemployment."

He said the UK government was working hard to create the right conditions for growth and maximising opportunities to strengthen cross-border links "but this must be a coordinated action across governments and industry at all levels".

More on this story