Fewer people are working in Wales as unemployment figure falls

Watch the video report by ITV Wales Cost of Living Correspondent, Carole Green.

Unemployment in Wales has fallen, but there are also fewer people available to work, new data shows.

There were 25,000 fewer people working in Wales between June and August than the previous three months, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Meanwhile, the number of people looking for work in Wales has fallen slightly - with around 3.3% of the population unemployed.

Growth is the government mantra of the moment, how to stimulate it and how to sustain it. But what is clear, a lack of skills and a lack of available workers puts the brakes on growth in our Economy.Whilst the number of vacancies has gone down slightly, many business are still struggling to recruit the people they need to grow. Hospitality, retail, the care sector, food production and manufacturing in Wales are all being impacted by a shortage of available skilled workers.

Sectors such as hospitality, retail and manufacturing in Wales are all being impacted by a shortage of available skilled workers.

Some companies report they are even turning down orders because they cannot fulfil them due to a lack of staff.Unemployment remains low in Wales as is reflected in today’s figures. But the real challenge are the numbers who are Economically Inactive. These people are not looking or available for work. They may be full time students, long term sick or unpaid carers looking after their grandchildren or older relatives.The labour market is particularly missing swathes of people over 50 who left the workforce during the pandemic and haven’t returned. Many reassessed their incomes, their lifestyles and the changes have become permanent. This group is an untapped source of potential labour -  if they can be tempted back.The Cost of Living crisis may make some in this older group reconsider their plans and re enter the workplace - especially as living costs go up and they seek to increase their income.Wales has also lost thousands of workers following Brexit. Many businesses and sectors like Construction and Hospitality relied on Eastern European workers but thousands have gone home and others no longer see the UK as such an attractive option.Training and investment in locally based skills takes time. It is not quick fix. Whilst apprenticeships are a positive way forward, it can take 10-15 years to plug a skills gap.Right now the Economy is flatlining and we are bordering on recession. The cost of living means households have less to spend and wages and benefits are effectively going down in real terms due to inflation hovering around 10%.This has led some companies to begin to reassess their recruitment plans and adopt a wait and see approach. Many are now keeping a close eye on how the Economic turbulence of recent weeks plays out before committing to new recruits. Whilst others are desperate for the skills to help their businesses reach their full potential.