The latest figures for a consecutive monthly reduction in unemployment in Wales is to be welcomed, Wales was the only region to see a drop in the numbers of unemployed by 2000 to 108,000. These however are just headline figures it doesn't drill down into the detail, for example how many move from available for work to economically inactive or to Employment Support Allowance (the old Incapacity Benefit) or the self employed who have insufficient National Insurance contributions to get JobSeekers Allowance...one thing is for sure there is a big difference between those who are economically inactive and those registered as unemployed.
The HMRC publish some interesting statistics on Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits. Based on tax credit figures they calculate that in April 2009 the number of FAMILIES out of work in Wales were 110,700 and those families had 192,600 children. In April 2008 the figures were 72,300 families and 134,900 children this shows a 53% increase in the number of families out of work over a 12 month period.
As we all know there are lies, damned lies and statistics, and the ones we choose to use depends on what spin we want to put on the story...unemployment is going down but child poverty is definitely on the up according to those figures. There is one word of caution however and that is the take up of Working Tax Credits is poor so the figures I quoted could be worse!