The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has continued to fall but economic output has also dipped, new figures have indicated.
The rate fell by 1% to 6.7% over the three month period from March to May, according to the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey.
In June the number of claimants in receipt of unemployment related benefits decreased by 900, taking the overall fall in claimants to 8,800 over 12 months.
While news on the jobs front was largely positive the latest economic output indicator suggested the region’s recovery has not yet been secured.
The NI Composite Economic Index for the first quarter of the year indicated that activity decreased by 0.4% in real terms.
However over 12 months the index has still increased by 1.6%, indicative of growth in the services, production and public sectors.
Economy 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 8,800 over the last 12 months.”
“These positive signals of growth in the labour market are a reflection of continued investment and job creation, much of which has been secured with support from (the Executive’s business support agency) Invest NI. This trend is continuing, with over 1,000 new jobs announced since the beginning of July alone.
“The annual growth in economic output is encouraging and it is important that we continue to build on recent progress by support in research and development, expanding existing markets and promoting inward investment.”