Published Wednesday, 17 October 2012
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Between June and August 2012, the number of people out of work in the region rose by more than 1% to 8.1%, the latest statistics from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency reveal.
That means more people are unemployed in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK, where the average rate is 7.9%, but the figures remain lower than the EU and Republic of Ireland, where more than one tenth of people are out of work.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the continued increase is disappointing. She highlighted challenges faced by the local labour market.
"Northern Ireland is a small open economy and we cannot expect to remain unaffected by the continued uncertainty in markets around the world," she commented.
"In the face of these challenges, it is important that local businesses continue to look for export opportunities in the wider global economy."
Without sustained economic growth local joblessness will continue to rise.
Northern Bank chief economist, Angela McGowan
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the region is the second highest across the 12 UK regions, and while the dole queue in Northern Ireland is getting longer, it is getting shorter in the UK as a whole.
"I believe there is still significant demand for our products and skills overseas that can help create the jobs we need to drive expansion at home," Minister Foster added.
There are some opportunities emerging for the unemployed, as Youth Employment Schemes are offering incentives for companies to train those out of work.
Ben Clayton, from Premier Inn, told UTV how the hotel chain is offering such a scheme in Northern Ireland.
"We take on people that we know we can work with, we can train them we can give them the skills we need and we can show them the attitudes and behaviours that other members of the team have and work with them to develop them to hopefully get secure employment at the end of it," he said.
"It's an opportunity to work with our young people of the future, that are going to make the industry continue to grow. There's some great people out there that have just never had a chance.
"They've never had a job, they've not had any work experience and I think it's our responsibility as organisations to give them that chance and help them to grow as individuals."
Northern Bank chief economist, Angela McGowan said Northern Ireland must not sacrifice growth because of financial instability.
"Low interest rates and quantitative easing alone have been unable to support strong and sustainable economic growth as the demand side of the economy is still too weak," she said.
"As well as government investment on infrastructure, Northern Ireland needs demand stimulating policies such a VAT reduction and tax breaks for local companies taking on more workers. These are the initiatives that are needed to create jobs but unfortunately the Northern Ireland Executive has no control over the taxation decisions."