18/12/2009

North West Builder Lays Off Staff

With news this week that the construction industry is still topping local employment sectors that are shedding jobs, one firm in Co Londondery has proved to be a case in point.

The Derry building firm, Tradeforce, is to lay off almost half its workforce because of the downturn in the construction industry.

Based in the Springtown Industrial Estate, the company announced its plans to lay off up to seven employees just ten days before Christmas.

The company's director, Brian McKeever, said they have tried to avoid letting staff go for as long as possible.

He told the Derry Journal: "Six or seven posts will go," he said. "We are restructuring because that is the way the industry is going at the minute with the recession. We have 15 direct employees and four apprentices and trainees," he added.

Mr McKeever said the construction industry was being particularly badly affected by the global economic downturn.

"Everybody is getting hit at the minute but contractors are feeling it worse than most. We have been weathering the storm up to now but its got to a situation where we’ve had to do this," he said.
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Official figures released in December showed that the construction industry is indeed 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, was estimated at 6.6% for the period August to October 2009.

See: Jobless Numbers Continuing To Grow

(BMcC/KMcA)

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