Unemployment figure rate continues to fall

Public sector employment has dropped but the private sector has soared
Public sector employment has dropped but the private sector has soared

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the province fell by 800 people during November according to the latest figures as those claiming jobless-related benefits to 31,900.

However, at 6.1 per cent, the rate of unemployment remains higher than the UK average of 5.2 per cent.

Nevertheless, Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell hailed the statistics as encouraging.

The total number of employee jobs in Northern Ireland was estimated at 729,740 for September 2015, representing an increase of 2,690 (0.4%) over the quarter, and an increase of 8,480 (1.2%) over the year.

“The figures published today contain positive messages across a range of key labour market indicators. Unemployment has fallen, both over the quarter and the year, while the number of employee jobs has continued to increase.

“At 6.1%, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate continues to compare very favourably to the August 2015 rates for the European Union (9.3%) and the Republic of Ireland (9.4%).”

Provisional results from the seasonally adjusted Index of Production (IOP) showed that output levels in Northern Ireland decreased by 2.1% over the quarter to July – September 2015 but increased by 0.6% over the year.

Over the quarter to July – September 2015, provisional results from the seasonally adjusted Index of Services show that output for Northern Ireland remained the same over the quarter and increased by 1.3% over the year.

Jonathan Bell continued: “The economic output figures suggest growth over the year and it is important we continue to build on recent progress in the labour market, and in our exporting performance, by encouraging research and development, expanding existing markets and promoting inward investment, which will benefit the economy as a whole.

“My Department is committed to doing growing the economy, assisted by InvestNI, which is now on track to exceed its revised PfG target of promoting 41,000 jobs since 2011. These new jobs have been in a range of sectors including food, manufacturing, legal, business and financial services, and across every council area.”