17/07/2013

Biggest Monthly Jobseekers Fall In A Decade

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Northern Ireland has experienced the biggest monthly drop since August 2002, according to the latest Labour Market Survey.

The number of claimants stood at 63,000 in June 2013; a fall of 800 from the previous month.

There has also been a fall of 1,900 in the claimant count over five months leading up to June.

However, the Northern Ireland claimant count rate still stood at 7% in June; the second highest among the twelve UK regions. The UK rate was 4.4%.

This is now the 39th consecutive month that Northern Ireland has had the highest or second highest UK regional unemployment rate.

Over the year, the Northern Ireland claimant count has increased by 0.2% (100), compared to a decrease of 7.4% in the UK.

The unemployment rate was estimated at 7.8% for the period March - May 2013. This is down 0.5% from the rate recorded in the previous quarter and up 0.9% from the rate recorded one year ago.

Estimates for March - May 2013 show that 58.1% of those unemployed in Northern Ireland have been unemployed for one year or more. This is up 15.1% from one year ago.

During this period there were 800,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland. The working age employment rate was estimated to be 66.7%.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "The decrease in the Northern Ireland unemployment rate is positive news, not only for those who have found employment but for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.

"The more recent unemployment benefit figures for June indicate that this has been the largest single monthly decrease in the number of people in receipt of such benefits since August 2002, which is also very welcome.

"The number of people on the unemployment register has been falling for the past five months and there are 1,900 fewer unemployment benefit recipients now than at the start of the year.

"While we would wish to see even more people leaving unemployment, the current labour market indicators suggest that some progress is being made on this front."

(IT/CD)

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