15/12/2004

Northern Ireland jobs growth continues

The latest labour market figures, released today, show that Northern Ireland is continuing to experience jobs growth, with the highest number of employee jobs on record being reported.

Seasonally adjusted figures from the Quarterly Employment Survey estimated that there were 684,990 employee jobs filled in September 2004, which represents a net increase of 4,080 over the quarter and an increase of 11,800 over the year.

Unemployment levels also remain low. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 5.0% for the period August to October 2004 has fallen from 5.1% in the previous quarter and 5.9% for the same period last year.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise Minister Barry Gardiner said: “This is positive news. Northern Ireland is experiencing record levels of jobs, combined with historically low levels of unemployment and this is evidence that the economy is moving in the right direction.”

The number of persons aged 16 and over who are defined as economically inactive but indicate that they wanted a job was estimated to be 39,000 – down 19,000 from the previous year. In addition, the number of people claiming benefits has decreased by 100 during the month and by 4,600 over the year. The figure for November 2004 stands at 29,700 or 3.6% of the workforce.

As it stands, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate (5.0%) is lower than three other UK regions: London (7.1%), the North East (6.0%) and Scotland (5.4%).

(MB/SP)

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