600 more join dole queue in NI

Published Wednesday, 14 November 2012
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The number of people out of work in Northern Ireland has risen again, with another 600 joining the dole queues in October.

600 more join dole queue in NI
Unemployment rates in NI are up, according to the latest figures. (© Pacemaker)

The monthly claimant count for NI was the second highest among the 12 UK regions, at 7% compared to the average of 4.8%, according to the latest figures.

There are now 64,100 people here claiming benefits.

It's the biggest rise in the claimant count in over two years, and the jobless numbers are expected to rise into next year.

"What we're seeing is the lagging affects of what happened over the summer months in terms of the uncertainty around Europe, it held back investment, in confidence, and that tends to fall through into the data at a later point," Angela McGowan, chief economist with Northern Bank said.

"So we're seeing that now falling through into the labour market and it will probably continue to do so next year.

Even when the economic environment improves, we'll see unemployment continue to climb, and it could reach a claimant count as high as 70,000 next year.

Angela McGowan, Northern Bank Chief Economist

The news comes as more jobs are expected to go from Ballymena construction firm Pattons, as many subcontractors affected by the company going into administration say they may have to let workers go if they do not receive money owed.

A total of 190 staff at Pattons were made redundant last week after a series of meetings were held with management.

There are also fears of further job losses at FG Wilsons in the New Year.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the figures reflect the difficult economic climate, but hopes the £200m economy and jobs initiative announced by the Executive last week will help provide support for local people and businesses.

Rebalancing the economy towards more productive jobs remains a key priority for my Department and Invest Northern Ireland.

Arlene Foster, Enterprise Minister

The Minister said: "The recently announced Economy and Jobs initiative is also important in that it provides further support to hard pressed businesses to access the specialist expertise needed to grow output.

"The £200m injection comprises a range of carefully targeted, practical measures that will help to stimulate growth and greater participation in the labour market.

"My aim is to provide the support needed for businesses to navigate their way through the current difficult economic conditions," she added.

Ms Foster is currently in China alongside the First and deputy First Ministers, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, on a mission to promote tourism and support NI companies who are seeking to win business in the country.

She continued: "A number of our local companies are already developing their business in China, but there is huge potential for many more to do so in this dynamic marketplace.

"Invest Northern Ireland is currently assisting many firms across a range of sectors to succeed in China and this week 35 local companies are working to show the Chinese market what they are capable of. I will continue to press ahead with existing Invest Northern Ireland programmes to support export-led growth."

Meanwhile Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said a jobs fair co-financed by the European Commission will be held at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on 21 November.

"Clearly this event demonstrates that, despite the economic downturn, employers are still looking to recruit both seasonal and permanent staff and that there are employment opportunities for jobseekers," said the Alliance minister.

"Irrespective of the obstacles an individual faces, as well as employers, there will also be a range of support organisations exhibiting at the event and offering a multitude of courses, programmes, advice and guidance."

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Sarah in Belfast wrote (742 days ago):
More jobs lost, people who have been paying their taxes for years going to be joining the dole queue.. With the Welfare reform it's going to make their lives more difficult. How can the government justify all these changes in a time when there is no jobs for people???? Screw Northern Ireland....
darren in belfast wrote (743 days ago):
everyone get out this country is sinking fast
Paul in Belfast moving to Dublin wrote (743 days ago):
Im off to Dublin to live, was offered a job last week. I was unemployed in Belfast nearly 2 years. Its looking alot better in Ireland than Britain. The salary i am getting in Dublin is around 30% more than what i would get in a similar job in London.
norman.d in bangor wrote (743 days ago):
more misery for people losing their jobs and all our politicians can find to argue about is flags and parades of course their jobs are safe and they have no interest in the people if they dont get a grip on the economy worse is to come
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