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Claimant count rises in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire and across Wales as a whole

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: March 21, 2013

By Rupert Hall

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THE jobs market across South West Wales slumped from January to February.

The number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose in the region and across Wales as a whole.

In Swansea the claimant count rose from 5,263 in January to 5,670 in February.

In Neath Port Talbot the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose in the same period from 3,468 to 3,594.

The picture in Carmarthenshire was similar as the claimant count rose from 3,625 in January to 3,737 in February. Across Wales as a whole the number of people out of work and claiming rose from 77,500 to 77,700.

The number of unemployed people across Wales rose 8,000 from November to January up to 125,000. Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, said: "It is a credit to businesses that the private sector is employing one and a quarter million more people than when this Government took office, helping us compete in the global race.

"Today's figures show that against a difficult economic backdrop we're helping people to move off benefits and into work.

"There are still tough challenges ahead which is why we're working hard to give jobseekers all the help and support they need to realise their aspiration of finding a job."

Neath MP Peter Hain said a third of those unemployed in the area are aged between 18 and 24 and added: "For thousands across the constituency the misery continues to go on and there is no end in sight with five people chasing every Jobcentre vacancy." Welsh Policy Unit Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, Janet Jones, said: "For the second month running we are seeing another worrying increase in the number of unemployed in Wales.

"However, compared to a year ago, the figures are more favourable, showing how volatile the situation is in Wales.

"Our latest quarterly index shows that small businesses in Wales are significantly more confident than they were this time last year. We know that smaller firms can be an important pathway back to work for the long-term unemployed."

Wales TUC Economic Policy Officer Alex Bevan said: "Unemployment has remained stubbornly higher in Wales whilst living standards are being forced down with a deeply regressive UK tax and benefits regime."

GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said: "That there is still mass unemployment, in the sixth year of recession, shows that the Tories/ Liberal government is following the wrong economic policy."

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