This briefing sets out analysis of the ONS labour market statistics for Wales, released on the morning of 11th August 2020. The data cover the number of people claiming benefits up to July 2020, and the employment figures for the period April to June 2020.
With claimant count in Wales standing at more than 120,000, this is the biggest jobs crisis since before devolution started more than twenty years ago. Claimant count has more than doubled since the start of the crisis, rising from 58,576 in March to 120,870 in July. The level is now three times higher than the record low under devolution (38,000 in February 2008).
Figure 1 – The claimant count in Wales the highest ever since devolution began
Figure 2 – claimant count levels rates comparing Wales and the whole of the UK
The trend in Wales continues to broadly mirror that of the UK as a whole, although the overall claimant count rate started out higher in Wales and that remains the case now. While the full picture has still to emerge we have compiled new graphs to illustrate how the changes in employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity (between this year and last year) in Wales compare with other nations and with English regions.
Figure 3 – changes in employment across the nations and regions
Figure 4 – changes in unemployment in nations and regions
Figure 5 – changes in economic inactivity in nations and regions
The local authorities with the highest claimant count levels going into the crisis are positioned on the right of the graph. These areas, such as Newport, Blaenau Gwent, and Merthyr Tydfil, have seen some of the biggest rises since March. The local authority that has experienced the largest rise since March is Conwy in North Wales.