NI dole queue shortens for 15th month

NI dole queue shortens for 15th month

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has fallen for the 15th month in a row, according to the latest labour market figures.

Within the past 12 months, the number of claimants in Northern Ireland has decreased by 8,200 and stood at 56,100 in April - a drop of 800 on the previous month.The NI claimant count rate of 6.2% was among the highest in the 12 UK regions - the overall UK rate was 3.3%.The NI unemployment rate is now 7.2% - which is a 0.1% decrease over the last quarter and 0.9% decrease over the year.The unemployment rate in the region was above the UK rate of 6.8%; lower than the EU rate of 10.6% and the Republic of Ireland rate of 11.9%.The figures show that 47.4% of those without a job have been unemployed for a year or more, which is down 13% since the same time last year.The unemployment rate in young people aged 18-24 was 18.6%- a drop of 2.5% from one year ago.Comparable figures for December - February 2014 showed that the NI jobless rate in young people was 23.1%, higher than the UK rate of 16.7%.Commenting on the figures, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: "The decrease in the unemployment rate, as well as the continued reduction in the number of unemployment benefit claimants is very encouraging."The number of claimants has fallen in each of the last 15 months, which is the most sustained decrease since June 1995."The past month has seen continuing evidence of significant investment, with almost 3,000 new jobs being announced since the beginning of April."Ms Foster continued: "This is a direct result of hard work by my Department and Invest NI and is good news for all of Northern Ireland, with jobs being created in Newtownabbey, Londonderry, Portadown, Antrim, Carrickfergus, Belfast and Tyrone."Together with colleagues in Invest NI, I will continue to focus on promoting Northern Ireland as a great location to invest and to grow existing businesses."

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