14/01/2004

NI unemployment figures increase

The number of people unemployed in Northern Ireland is on the increase according to the latest figures.

Labour force statistics released on Wednesday revealed that some 46,000 people are unemployed, a rise of 3,000 on the this time last year.

In addition, more recent pressures on the labour market are reflected in the rise in the unemployment rate to 6.1% compared with 5.6% for both the previous quarter and the same time last year.

Seasonally adjusted figures for the period September – November 2003 also show there are approximately 720,000 people in employment, a decrease of 7,000 over the year.

Claimant count figures for the most recent month (December 2003) show a fall of 300 over the month, with 4.2% of the workforce now claiming Job Seekers Allowance or National Insurance Credits.

Turning to industry production figures, results for the third quarter of 2003 show that output levels rose by 1.0% compared to the same quarter one year earlier and increased by 1.4% compared to the previous quarter.

Northern Ireland's increased production over the year (1.0%) is in contrast to that of the UK as a whole which fell by 0.6% compared to the same quarter one year earlier. The UK also reported a small fall of 0.2% over the quarter.

(MB)

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