17/11/2004

NI unemployment figures continue to fall

The latest labour market figures, released today, show that Northern Ireland is continuing to experience historically low levels of unemployment.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.1% for the period July – September 2004 has fallen by 0.2 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Figures also show that there were 720,000 people in employment in the period July – September 2004, an increase of 6,000 from the previous quarter.

Commenting on the figures, a spokesperson for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said: “The pattern of low unemployment rates for Northern Ireland has continued and further growth in demand in the labour market is confirmed by a rise in employment levels over the quarter.

“The economy is moving in the right direction, however, the Northern Ireland workforce has the potential to grow much further. We must continue to encourage the creation of high quality jobs, to build on strengths and be innovative in developing high value added products and services.”

As it stands, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate (5.1%) is lower than three other UK regions: London (7.1%), the North East (5.9%) and Scotland (5.2%).

Meanwhile, the latest claimant count figure shows that 29,800, or 3.7% of the workforce, is claiming benefits, a fall of around 4,900 over the year.

(MB)

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