Drop in jobless benefit claimants

Drop in jobless benefit claimants

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Northern Ireland dropped significantly, by 1,400, in July compared to the previous month.

This resulted in 52,700 people receiving jobless benefits last month - making it the nineteenth consecutive month in which there has been a fall.Despite this, the claimant count rate in NI, at 5.9%, remains one of the highest among the twelve UK regions.The overall rate for the UK stands at a much lower 3.0%.For over four years, Northern Ireland has had the highest or second highest UK regional unemployment rate. The region has featured in the No 1 or 2 position for 52 consecutive months.The north's unemployment rate is estimated at 6.7% for the period April - June 2014.This is down 0.5 percentage points from the figure recorded in the previous quarter of 7.2% and down 0.8 percentage points from the rate of 7.5% recorded one year ago.The level of joblessness in the region remains above the UK average of 6.4% - which has decreased by 0.4 percentage points over the quarter and by 1.4 percentage points over the year.The NI rate was also lower than the European Union's figure of 10.3% and the Republic of Ireland's rate of 12.0% for May 2014.Unemployment in Northern Irish young people remains a problem area with 19.4% of 18-24 year olds searching for a job in the April - June quarter, compared to the UK average of 14.4%.During the same period, 821,000 people were recorded as employed in Northern Ireland.But this rate, at 68.4%, is below that of the UK's figure of 73.0%.Of those registered as economically inactive and of working age, an estimated 28% were students, 28% were sick/disabled, 26% were looking after the family/home, 12% were retired and 7% cited the reason 'other'.Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "A further decrease in the Northern Ireland unemployment rate is welcome, as is the sustained decrease in the number of unemployment benefit claimants, which has reduced by 9,700 over the last 12 months."These positive signals of growth in the labour market are a reflection of continued investment and job creation in Northern Ireland."The DUP Minister continued: "Earlier this week I announced that 143 new jobs were being created in Belfast by SSE Airtricity. This, along with other recent job announcements, is a tremendous vote of confidence in Northern Ireland as a place in which to do business, and I am certain that we will see further good news on the investment front in the near future."It is also important that we continue to build on recent progress by encouraging research and development, expanding existing markets and promoting inward investment."I would encourage local business to actively seek out these opportunities and to take advantage of Invest NI's continued support for local businesses through their wide range of programmes that are tailored to meet individual business needs."


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