Employment in Wales hit worse by recession than anywhere else in UK

Unemployment more than doubled in Wales between the peak of the boom and the depths of the recession leaving the country worse affected than any other UK nation, new figures show.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the unemployment rate went from its lowest point of 4.4% in July of 2005 to 9.3% in March last year. The numbers rose thrown onto the dole went from 60,848 to 134,000 in March 2010.

Experts blamed the sharp 4.9% increase in joblessness during the downturn on Wales’s still relatively large manufacturing sector.

In England the unemployment rate rose from a low of 4.6% in March 2005 to a high of 8% in October 2009 and now stands at 7.8%.

Scotland’s unemployment rate went up by 4.8% to 8.8% in July 2010, a fractionally lower rise than the increase seen in Wales.

In Northern Ireland the rate increased by 4.7% between August 2005 and March 2010 to 8%.

Of the regions of England only two places saw a higher increase in the rate of unemployment than Wales - Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands.

A Welsh Government spokesman stressed the most recent unemployment figures showed signs of improvement.

“We are working with all sectors in Wales to create a strong and vibrant Welsh economy,” added the spokesperson.

UK wide unemployment fell to its lowest point of 4.7% in August 2005 before peaking at 8% in March 2010 and dropping back no to 7.7% or 2,452,000.

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