Brexit warning as jobless figure falls by 600

Angela McGowan
Angela McGowan

Unemployment in the province fell once again during April after two months of increases.

Statistics from the Labour Market Report published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) show the numbeor of people claiming unemployment-related benefits fell by 600 to 37,900.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures for Northern Ireland, Danske Bank Chief Economist Angela McGowan said the latest data showed the local economy was “coasting along at a reasonable pace”.

“The Quarter 1 data presented this week is reasonably good but the expectation is for Quarter 2 data to soften as many investment decisions are currently on hold in the run up to the EU referendum.

“There are still plenty of local challenges, including long-term unemployment, youth unemployment and low wages.

Many of those issues, she said, would “hopefully” be addressed in the new Programme for Government but Ms McGowan warned that people should also realise that remaining within the European Union was an important aspect of building an economic future.

“A vote for Brexit is likely to present a huge economic shock for the UK, for Europe and also for Northern Ireland,” she said.

“Job creation in a Brexit scenario would prove extremely difficult as uncertainty will rise, investment would fall (both domestic and foreign direct investment) and employers would be forced to rein in spending on labour and capital,” she added.