The result provides a bright spot for the party in a largely disappointing set of elections for Labour across the rest of the UK.
In the Welsh parliament, once all results were declared, Labour won exactly half of the 60 seats available.
This leaves the party one seat short of an overall majority.
But, because the Senedd’s presiding officer – to come from an opposition party – does not vote, Labour are unlikely to be prevented from passing a budget or to face a no confidence vote.
The Conservatives are the next largest party, with 16 seats in the Senedd, with Plaid Cymru third on 13 seats, and the Liberal Democrats the only other party to be represented by retaining their single seat.
Labour and Plaid Cyrmu both gained one seat on their 2016 result, while the Tories gained five seats to give the party their record 16 seats in the Senedd.
Plaid Cymru’s 13 seats is the nationalist party’s highest number since the first election to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 1999, when they won 17 seats.
The last time Labour won 30 seats in the Senedd, in 2011, the party decided to govern alone.
Since 2016, the last set of Senedd elections before Thursday’s vote, Labour had been governing in Wales in coalition with the one Liberal Democrat member, Kirsty Williams.
Prior to all results being declared on Saturday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said he was delighted Labour had “exceeded expectations”.
“Did I think we would be up approaching the top of the twenties? That was probably at the top end of what I thought was achievable, given the extraordinary circumstances of this election,” the Welsh Labour leader said on Friday.
Mr Drakeford added he would wait until the final results were in before deciding how to form a “stable and progressive government”.