While the parties continue to pretend that the election isn’t a one horse race and was more or less decided before the Assembly broke up a few weeks ago, in the real world most of the electorate's main concerns are job security, unemployment, inflation and food and petrol prices – which could be the main reason the campaign, now entering its third week still hasn’t come to life.
Of course WAG doesn’t have the power to deal with much of the above, but there is new data on issues like where jobs were created and lost and the claimant count produced by the statistics people in Cardiff Bay for April following last week’s UK unemployment data and there are some interesting little gems that should be part of the election debate.
The results show a big decline in Welsh Manufacturing and a steady rise in Welsh self employment, trends that haven't been debated by the politicians so far in the campaign and will be probably be ignored when they return to the Assembly.
But back to the stats
The number of workforce jobs in Wales fell by 10,000 (0.8 per cent) between December 2009 and December 2010 to stand at 1.354 million.
Over the same period the number of workforce jobs in the UK as a whole rose by 20,000 (0.1 per cent) to 31.3 million.
The number of workforce jobs in manufacturing in Wales fell by 21,000 (13.2 per cent) between December 2009 and December 2010 to stand at 141,000 (10.4 per cent of all workforce jobs).
Over the same period the number of workforce jobs in manufacturing in the UK as a whole fell by 60,000 (2.3 per cent) to 2.5 million (8.2 per cent of all workforce jobs
The LFS estimate of the number of self-employment jobs in Wales rose by 3,000 (1.6 per cent) between December 2009 and December 2010 to stand at 206,000 (15.3 per cent of workforce jobs).
Over the same period the estimate of the number of self-employment jobs in the UK as a whole rose by 158,000 (3.7 per cent) to 4.4 million (14.0 per cent of workforce jobs).
Perhaps the most interesting is the claimant count which shows that West Wales and the Valleys and East Wales are almost the same (0.2% difference), proving what everyone knows, it’s the levels of incapacity and other benefit claimants that are the real problem in West Wales and the Valleys.
The claimant count in West Wales and the Valleys fell by 6.8 per cent over the year to stand at 47,800 in March 2011, a rate of 4.0 per cent of the resident population aged 16-64.
In East Wales, the claimant count fell by 6.1 per cent over the year to stand at 27,000 in March 2011, representing 3.8 per cent of the resident population aged 16-64.
The full document is here