16/03/2005

NI continues to experience jobs growth

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 687,110 employee jobs filled in December 2004, which represents an increase of 2,300 over the quarter and 11,140 over the past year.

Unemployment levels remain close to their lowest ever levels with a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.6% for the period November – January 2005 compared with 5.6% for the same period last year.

Over the last three months, the number of people claiming benefits has fallen by 800. The latest seasonally adjusted claimant count figure stands at 29,000, down 4,000 over the year.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Barry Gardiner said: "These figures provide evidence that the Northern Ireland economy is continuing to grow. The number of jobs is at a record high and the unemployment rate remains below the UK average."

As it stands, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate (4.6%) is lower than four other UK regions and is below the UK average of 4.7%.

(MB/SP)

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