WELMERC was established in 2002 following funding from the European Social fund, with the aim of providing evidence-based economic policy advice. The primary objectives of WELMERC are:
- To analyse and report on trends in economic data relevant to the Welsh Labour Market such as population profiles, migration flows, skills and qualifications, inactivity, employment, earnings, GDP growth rates and business information;
- To analyse existing and new data sets including the Welsh boosts to the Labour Force Survey and British Household Panel Survey in order to inform policies relating to education and training, earnings, unemployment and inactivity, labour market discrimination and social inclusion;
- To undertake evaluation analysis of EU regional policy spend in Wales;
- To influence the context and debates that shape the formulation of economic policy, particularly in the areas of employment and wages in Wales, the UK and Europe.
WELMERC has produced over 50 reports in a number of areas included barriers to unemployment; rates of return to education, lifelong learning, gender segregation, the gender pay gap, minimum wages, disability, public sector pay, regional inequalities, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), the Living Wage, well-being, and regional differences in childhood health. Whilst much of the research carried out by WELMERC has had a central focus on Wales and the UK, research has also been carried out for CEDEFOP (The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) on skill mismatch across the European Union.