11/08/2004

Unemployment figures in NI show slight rise

Northern Ireland's unemployment rate has risen slightly, according to the latest figures.

The latest Labour Force Survey showed Northern Ireland's unemployment rate rose by 0.1 of a percentage point to 5.3% for the period April – June 2004.

Taken over the past year however there was an estimated 40,000 people unemployed in Northern Ireland, a fall of 1,000 over the year.

Over the last three months, the number of people claiming benefits decreased by an average of 933 per month while the latest seasonally adjusted claimant count figure for July 2004 stands at 29,200, down 4,900 over the year.

A spokesperson from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) said: “It is good to see the continuing low levels of unemployment. However, an untapped labour reserve still exists in Northern Ireland and we need to concentrate our efforts to encourage the economy to grow and fully utilise the labour supply available."

The Northern Ireland unemployment rate is lower than four other UK regions: London (7.0%), Scotland (6.2%), the West Midlands (5.5%) and the North East (5.5%).

(MB)

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