Unemployment in province falls for fourth consecutive month

Recent investments by firms such as Tullett Prebon show that the province continues to prove attractive to business said Mr Hamilton, picured right with First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness, Tullett Prebon, Group CIO, Luke Barnett,centre, and Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton
Recent investments by firms such as Tullett Prebon show that the province continues to prove attractive to business said Mr Hamilton, picured right with First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness, Tullett Prebon, Group CIO, Luke Barnett,centre, and Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton

Unemployment across the province fell for the fourth consecutive month according to latest figures indicating a fall of 600 in July.

Figures released for the period April – June 2016 show that the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey unemployment rate was 6.0%, a decrease of 0.1% over the quarter and 0.5% over the year.

Data for July shows that the number of claimants in receipt of unemployment related benefits stood at 36,100, down 600 over the month and a fall 6,900 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months.

The employment rate of 69.0% was unchanged over the quarter, however, increasing by 1.3% over the year to April - June 2016.

Similarly, the economic inactivity rate increased over the quarter by 0.2 percentage points, though it decreased over by 1.1% to 26.4%.

“Creating more and better jobs is a key priority for me so it is great that the unemployment level in Northern Ireland continues to head in the right direction,” said Economy Minister Simon Hamilton.

“I am encouraged to see almost 7,000 fewer people on the unemployment register compared to one year ago. The Northern Ireland unemployment rate is also continuing to head in the right direction, reducing by 0.5 percentage points over the year to 6.0%, and comparing very favourably to the European Union average of 8.6%,” he added.

“Our employment rate now stands at 69%, an upward rise over the year with 21,000 more people in employment.”

Employment opportunities continued to develop, he said, as Northern Ireland successfully competed against locations worldwide for major job investments.

“We will continue to work hard to build on this progress as we seek to achieve our aim of building a globally competitive economy.”

Andrew Webb, MD of economic research firm Webb Advisory Ltd said the figures brought mixed messages.

“There are some red flags appearing over the most recent quarter. Economic inactivity for so long the unsolved problem in Northern Ireland’s economy has increased by 8,000 in the last quarter and the number of people in employment fell by 4,000.

Perhaps we are starting to see the impact of those significant redundancy announcements over the past 12 months in the numbers and companies may well be choosing not to replace leavers until the dust settles on Brexit.