Unemployment at lowest level in seven years

A further sign that the economy is heading in the right direction
A further sign that the economy is heading in the right direction

Unemployment in Northern Ireland is at its lowest since 2009 according to the latest official figures.

The number of people claiming fell by 800 in August to 35,100 as the Labour Force Survey showed that unemployment fell by 0.7% over the year to 5.6%.

Commenting on the figures, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: “I am greatly encouraged by the continuing signs of improvement in economic conditions especially across our labour market.

“Creating more and better jobs is a key priority for me. The increase in employee jobs and the increase in the employment rate is hugely encouraging and a further sign that our economy is heading in the right direction.

“It is very welcome to see another decrease in the number of people on the unemployment register. The count now stands at 35,100 people – a decrease of 16% over the year. The unemployment rate also continues to head in the right direction, at 5.6%, the lowest it has been since the end of 2009, and comparing very favourably to the European Union average of 8.6%.”

The economic output measures showed an increase over the quarter and year in both the services and production sectors. The Index of Services showed an increase of 1.7% over the quarter and 4.0% over the year, while the Index of Production reported increases of 0.6% over the quarter and 0.1% over the year.

“Output in production over the latest quarter has been positive. It is also great to see that our services sector grew at a faster rate than the UK as a whole, both over the quarter and the year, and all sub-sectors benefited from this growth.

“As we move forward with transforming Northern Ireland into a globally competitive economy, I want to capitalise on our strengths and propel our region forward through the Executive’s refocused Economic Strategy.”