NI Unemployment Falls

Unemployment in Northern Ireland is falling, according to the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS).

The unemployment rate was estimated at 7.8% for the period February - April 2013.

This shows a fall of 0.6% from the rate recorded in the previous quarter (8.5%) and a rise of 0.7% from the rate recorded one year ago (7.1%).

The Northern Ireland unemployment rate was the same as the UK average rate at 7.8%.

Estimates for February - April 2013 show that 59.2% of those unemployed in Northern Ireland have been unemployed for one year or more. This is up 14% from one year ago.

The unemployment rate for 18-24 year-olds is 19% - down 2% over the year.

Figures for January - March 2013 show the NI unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds was 21.1%, compared to the UK average rate of 18.4%.

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits stood at 64,100 in May 2013; down 200 from the previous month.

Figures also indicate a fall of 800 in the claimant count over the most recent four months.

The Northern Ireland claimant count rate in May 2013, at 7.1%, was the second highest among the twelve UK regions. The UK rate was 4.5%.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "The decrease in the Northern Ireland unemployment rate is welcome news and the latest labour market figures for Northern Ireland show that our current unemployment rate of 7.8% is now equal to that for the UK.

"This compares favourably to the equivalent rates in the European Union (10.9%) and Republic of Ireland (14.2%). It is also encouraging that the claimant count has now decreased for four consecutive months for the first time since August 2007.

"The fall of the unemployment rate over the last three months is welcome. While it is too early to read too much into this it is important that we continue to build on these positive signs."

Minister Foster announced yesterday that 229 jobs would be created as a result of a £13.7m investment by a Craigavon pharmaceutical company.

Almac Pharma Services provides drug development and manufacturing contract services to international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.


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