13/12/2006

NI jobs continue to increase

Figures released today show Northern Ireland has the highest number of jobs on record, while the unemployment rate remains below the UK average.

Seasonally adjusted figures from the Quarterly Employment Survey estimated that there were 704,390 employee jobs filled in September 2006, representing a net increase of 2,300 over the quarter and an increase of 8,500 over the year.

The overall increase over the quarter was driven by rises in service sector jobs and construction jobs, however these increases were slightly offset by a fall in manufacturing jobs.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Northern Ireland was 4.6% for the period August - October 2006. This estimate is slightly higher than the rates recorded for the previous quarter (4.3%) and the previous year (4.1%). However, the Northern Ireland rate remains below the UK average (5.5%) and is also considerably lower than the EU25 rate (8.0%) for September 2006.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stands at 27,400. This shows a decrease of 400 from the previous month and is down 1,200 over the year.

The latest seasonally adjusted working age economic inactivity rate in Northern Ireland (27.7%) has increased from a figure of 26.7% for the previous quarter. The Northern Ireland rate remains significantly higher than the UK average (21.0%) and is the highest among the UK regions.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise Minister, Maria Eagle MP said: "The news that the number of jobs in the region has once again risen to record levels is very welcome. The increase in jobs has been achieved despite the challenging global conditions that currently exist and it is encouraging to see that Northern Ireland businesses are continuing to grow.

“The success of private sector services has been key to the recent increases in Northern Ireland jobs, contributing some 8,000 jobs during the last year alone. All our businesses should learn from the example being set by our most competitive and successful companies. By being more market aware, export focused and innovative, our businesses can stay ahead of the competition and ensure the long-term growth of the Northern Ireland economy."

(EF/KMcA)


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