15/06/2005

NI jobs growth continues

Latest labour market figures have shown that Northern Ireland is continuing to experience jobs growth, with the highest number of employee jobs on record.

Seasonally adjusted figures from the Quarterly Employment Survey estimated that there were 691,670 employee jobs filled in March 2005, representing a net increase of 4,360 over the quarter and an increase of 12,660 over the year.

Northern Ireland also continues to experience relatively low levels of unemployment. The NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.8% for the period February – April 2005 has risen slightly from 4.6% in the previous quarter, but is down from a rate of 5.2% for the same period last year.

Over the last three months, the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits fell by 100. The latest seasonally adjusted claimant count figure stands at 29,000, down 2,400 over the year.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise Minister, Angela Smith said: "These figures represent positive news for the Northern Ireland economy. The number of jobs are at a record high and unemployment levels remain close to their lowest ever levels.”

As it stands, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate (4.8%) is lower than three other UK regions: London (6.8%), the North East (5.8%) and Scotland (5.6%). It is also considerably lower than the EU25 average (8.9%) for March 2005.

(MB/SP)

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