Further slowdown likely despite jobs figures

Jobs growth is small comfort
Jobs growth is small comfort

Amid Brexit, low productivity and the general state of the global economy, growth in Northern Ireland is likely to slow further despite the latest fall in unemployment one leading oserver has claimed.

Speaking as the latest labour market statistics confirmed that unemployment fell by 700 during July, Esmond Birnie, senior economist at the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre said the data was of little real comfort.

“A range of wider economic indicators (house price growth, business confidence measures and the trend in indicators of economic growth) point to a continued slowdown in the pace of growth in the economy,” he said.

“Notwithstanding that, many of the figures in the latest NISRA Labour Market Report point in a positive direction.”

The claimant count continued to fall by 700 to 29,800, he said, while the employment rate rose 0.1% on the year to 69.2% and the economic inactivity rate - the measure of those neither in work or seeking work - came down slightly, by 0.5% to 26.9%.

“But, whilst the message is positive in the main, there are no grounds for euphoria.

“Most of the gains are very small- NI still lags far behind GB in terms of the employment rate and the inactivity rate is much higher.”