FOUR of five Gwent authorities are experiencing a four-year high in employment, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics this week.

In Torfaen the employment rate has been growing since September 2009 to a four-year high of 65.6 per cent at the end of September 2013. In Caerphilly the rate was also at a four-year high of 68.7 per cent, while in Blaenau Gwent it climbed from 59.2 per cent in 2009 to 60.3 per cent at the end of September 2013.

In Newport the figure dropped slightly from 69.2 per cent in 2012, to 69.1 in 2013, while in Monmouthshire the figure reached a four-year high of 74.9 per cent at the end of September 2013.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Wales was lower last year than the UK average and economic inactivity in Wales is also down.

First Minister Carwyn Jones welcomed the labour market statistics and said the figures show youth unemployment is falling faster in Wales than the UK, economic inactivity is close to “a record low”, and Wales has seen the biggest increase in private sector employment over the past 12 months.

Welsh Secretary David Jones MP welcomed it as a sign the UK government’s long-term economic plan “is working” but that the work is not finished.

The MP will host a “jobs summit” promoting youth employment in Wales next month.