13/11/2013

Unemployment Continues To Fall

The Northern Ireland unemployment rate continues to fall, according to the latest Labour market figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA).

Unemployment was estimated at 7.3% for the period July - September 2013, indicating a 0.2% fall from the previous quarter and a 0.4% drop from a year ago.

The Northern Ireland unemployment rate was below the UK average rate (7.6%) which has decreased by 0.2% over the quarter and by 0.2% over the year.

It was also lower than the European Union (10.9%) and Republic of Ireland (13.6%) rates for August 2013.

50.7% of those unemployed in Northern Ireland have been unemployed for one year or more. This is down 2.4% from one year ago.

However, the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds is 24.7%, up 5.5% over the year.

Figures for the three months July - September 2013 estimate the NI unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds at 22.5%, compared to the UK average rate of 19.8%.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 61,000 in October 2013, down 600 from the previous month.

The Northern Ireland claimant count rate stood at 6.7% in October 2013, making it the highest among the twelve UK regions.

Estimates for the period July - September 2013 showed that there were 808,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland and that the corresponding working age employment rate was estimated to be 67.2%. This rate increased by 0.9% over the quarter and decreased by 0.2% over the year.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "The decrease in the Northern Ireland unemployment rate is welcome and means that we remain below that of the UK (7.6%). This also compares favourably to the equivalent rates in the European Union (10.9%) and Republic of Ireland (13.6%). The more recent unemployment benefit figures for October are also encouraging, showing a fall in this measure of unemployment for the ninth consecutive month.

"The more recent continued decrease in the unemployment rate as well as the fall in unemployment benefit recipients demonstrates that there is some improvement in the labour market which is to be welcomed. I also note that the Ulster Bank’s Purchasing Managers’ Index recorded a fourth consecutive monthly increase in business activity during October."

(IT/MH)

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