17/12/2009

Jobless Numbers Continuing To Grow

Figures just released have recorded a slight fall in the Northern Ireland unemployment rate during the latest quarter.

However, the construction industry is still bearing the brunt of job losses even though the number fell between June and September 2009, with further job losses recorded across all main sectors.

Commenting on the figures, NI Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said: "The unemployment rate has remained relatively constant over the most recent period.

"However, third quarter employee job figures indicated that the construction, services and manufacturing sectors all reported continuing job losses.

"The number of confirmed redundancies has also nearly doubled this year, compared to last," she said, also noting that the 'levelling off' of unemployment figures in recent months is welcome news for the NI labour market.

"It is difficult to say whether this is a pause in the jobless figure or if it represents the turning point that will eventually see the number of claimants fall.

"The view of most economic commentators is that there will be a time lag before any recovery in business confidence is translated into jobs growth. The labour market results in the next few months will let us know if this is the case," she said.

The Northern Ireland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, as measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS), was estimated at 6.6% for the period August to October 2009.

This was slightly lower than the rate of 6.8% recorded in the previous quarter, but was up from the rate of 4.4% recorded in the same period one year ago.
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The Northern Ireland unemployment rate remained below the UK average (7.9%) and was the joint second lowest rate among the 12 UK regions. It was also lower than the European Union (9.2%) and Republic of Ireland (13.0%) rates for September 2009.

The seasonally adjusted number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 54,000 (6.2% of the workforce) in November 2009 – an increase of 200 (0.4%) over the month.

This increase, and the revised monthly increase of 100 for October 2009, is relatively small when compared to the average monthly increase of 1,600 during the last year.

Northern Ireland was one of only two UK regions to record an increase in claimant levels in November 2009 - the UK as a whole recorded a decrease of 0.4%.

Over the year, the Northern Ireland claimant count has increased by 55.6% (19,300).

The equivalent increase in the UK was 49.0%, with the Northern Ireland annual increase ranking second highest of the UK regions.

Seasonal adjusted estimates from the Quarterly Employment Survey showed that there were 701,730 employee jobs filled in September 2009. This represented an estimated net decrease of 5,010 over the quarter and a fall of 25,600 over the year.

The decrease over the quarter was driven by falls in the manufacturing sector (-1,540), the service sector (-1,640) and construction sector jobs (-1,720).

This was the fifth successive quarterly decrease in the seasonally adjusted employee jobs series (employee jobs decreased by 6,030 over the previous quarterly period).

The seasonally adjusted number of working age persons that were economically inactive decreased by an estimated 12,000 over the quarter and the corresponding working age economic inactivity rate decreased to 28.2% (in August - October 2009

See: Slowing Of UK Unemployment Growth

(BMcC/KMcA)

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