- Low wages are one cause of poverty, especially in rural areas of Wales.
- Worklessness rates are particularly high in areas where mining, steel production and heavy industry used to be dominant.
- Rates of economic inactivity are rising among men, but falling among women.
- One consequence of economic inactivity is the marginalisation of the individuals and communities affected.
In this section you have examined the major features of the contemporary Welsh economy and the work patterns that emerge from it. Profound social changes have occurred in response to changing economic patterns, notably the increased role for women in the workplace and the experience of worklessness. Both of these have impacted on family and social life; indeed the social and cultural experience of living in Wales has changed. Taking the Welsh economy forward into a more prosperous future presents major challenges to the Welsh Government. As well as overcoming some of the structural weaknesses in the economy, policy will have to successfully challenge the social and cultural impact of both low wages and long-term economic inactivity if Wales is to reach standards of living for all its citizens which compare favourably with the rest of the UK.