Unemployment rate falls slightly in Wales during lockdown

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There are now 41,000 people unemployed across Wales Credit: PA

The number of people who are unemployed in Wales has slightly lowered, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said there are now 41,000 people unemployed across Wales.

Between March and May, Northern Ireland had the lowest estimated unemployment rate in the UK, at 2.4%. This was followed by Wales with a record low unemployment rate for the country, of 2.7%. The UK-wide rate was 3.9%.

The UK-wide figures are more stark, where nearly 650,000 jobs have been lost since March. However, the latest ONS figures do not reflect the recent announcements on large job losses in Wales.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: "As the pandemic took hold, the labour market weakened markedly, but that rate of decline slowed into June, though this is before recent reports of job losses."

A total of 378,400 jobs in Wales have been furloughed up until 30 June 2020. The majority of these jobs are in wholesale and retail, accommodation and food services and manufacturing. Those who are furloughed are still classed as employed so the true impact of Covid-19 on jobs in Wales is not likely to be shown until the support scheme ends in October.

Economist Jeremy Thomson Cook said: "The furlough scheme has made the monthly reading of job numbers rather meaningless... The only guarantee is that some will be looking for new work as the scheme winds down, and some will not be able to given changes in their living circumstances driven by the pandemic.

"Wage growth has fallen which could either be caused by lower paid workers re-joining the workforce, or from employers failing to top up furloughed wages when they previously had." 

The ONS said Wales has had the largest increase in unemployed people not seeking work this year, at 1.5%. The calculation is based on those who have not been seeking work within the last four weeks and/or are unable to start work within the next two weeks.