I welcome the small fall in unemployment but this small fall masks the continued high level of unemployment as Northern Ireland’s economic growth remains the lowest of the 12 UK regions in 2015 as reported by PWC last week.
These figures mask reality of high and unacceptable youth unemployment and long term unemployment which remain stubbornly high and higher than the rest of the UK. NI is also vulnerable due to its dependency on a few large employers and exporters.’
The PWC report has said poor productivity remains the single biggest challenge to NI’s sustained recovery and that the pace of recovery was decelereating.
Over the past seven months business confidence has been mixed, sometimes negative but always lagging the GB regions.
DUP Junior Minister Jonathan Bell in welcoming the figures fails to address the lack of competitiveness in the NI economy which is holding the NI economy back.
Our energy costs are the highest in Europe, our planning system is inefficient, employment laws are not competitive and private sector is stifled by inactivity,faltering construction sector and red tape. NI Conservatives have been calling action on competitiveness, meaningful enterprise zones and a pipe line of infrastructure projects for some time but the reality is the executive is paralysed by stalemate and can’t even agree a budget .
There is no alternative to Stormont House which must be implemented now to boost flagging business activity and encourage foreign direct investment.
NI Cons economy spokesperson