NI long term unemployed up nearly 20%

The number of people who have been unemployed in Northern Ireland for a year or more has increased by nearly 20%, according to the latest market figures.

Published 20/02/2013 12:00

Of those unemployed, 58.9% have been without jobs for a year or more, which is an increase of 18.6% on the previous year.

The unemployment rate in the region increased 0.2% compared to the previous quarter - it is now 7.8% for the period of October-December 2012, the NI Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA) estimates.

The region's rate is in line with the UK average, although the UK rate has decreased by 0.1%.

The rate is also lower than the EU average of 10.7% and Republic of Ireland's rate of 14.6%.

Young people continue to be affected by joblessness - the rate of unemployment in 18-24 year olds has increased by 2.3% to 19.1% compared to the UK average 18.7%.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits remained unchanged at 65,000 in January, which is the second highest claimant rate in the UK. The rest of the UK saw a 0.8% decrease.

Over the year, nearly 4,000 extra people signed on in Northern Ireland, while the UK as a whole saw fewer people claiming.

Seasonally adjusted estimates for October-December 2012 showed 799,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland.

We are calling for an early decision by the UK Government on the devolution of corporation tax, some two years after the release of the initial consultation, without any further delay.

Ian Coulter, CBI Northern Ireland

Commenting on the figures, DUP Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "The rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland was equal to that in the UK and still compares favourably to the rates in the European Union and the Republic of Ireland."

The minister noted that previous official statistics show a slight increase in private sector employee jobs and output in the third quarter of 2012.

"Although an increase in jobs and output suggests a degree of stabilisation, it is only to be tentatively welcomed as it is still too early to draw conclusions," Ms Foster said.

"The UK reported a fall in quarterly GDP at the end of 2012 after growth in the third quarter, suggesting that the timing of any recovery remains difficult to predict.

"Nevertheless, there are areas of growth in the world economy and our continuing priority must be to help Northern Ireland businesses identify and target such demand, wherever it exists."

The Confederation of British Industries (Northern Ireland) said the region continues to lag behind the recovery in the rest of the UK, where over 197,000 full time jobs have been created in the last three months - the greatest since records began in 1992.

Ian Coulter, chairman of CBI Northern Ireland also highlighted the latest job announcements in the Republic of Ireland.

"Ebay are creating a further 450 jobs in Dundalk, bringing its total workforce in Ireland to 2,300, and Facebook are creating 100 new jobs, bringing its total staff in the Republic to 500," he said.

"There is no doubt that the announcements in the Republic are inextricably linked to their lower rate of corporation tax.

"In addition, every job that is created by a multinational company there also creates another extra job in its domestic economy - in supply companies, retail and other services.

"Northern Ireland needs the same tool to attract multi-nationals in such numbers and help transform our economy."

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