Unemployment Up - But More People Are Working

Although still under the UK average, unemployment in Northern Ireland has gone up again.

The numbers of people who are deemed 'economic inactive' has also continued to rise.

However, on the plus side, the numbers actually in work rose again by 1,000 to 781,000 over the quarter and 9,000 on the year.

The Northern Ireland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.2% for the period October - December 2007.

This represents an increase from the rate of 3.8% recorded last quarter, but it is unchanged from the same period one year ago.

The latest Northern Ireland rate remains below the UK average (5.2%) and is also considerably lower than the EU27 (European) rate of 6.9% for November 2007.

Seasonally adjusted figures for the same period estimate that there were 781,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland. The new figures represent an estimated increase of 0.1% in employment levels over the quarter and a rise of 1.2% over the year.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stands at 23,800. This shows an increase of 200 from the previous month, but is down 2,300 over the year.

The latest seasonally adjusted working age economic inactivity rate in Northern Ireland (27.1%) has fallen from a figure of 27.3% recorded for the previous quarter.

However, the Northern Ireland rate continues to be significantly higher than the UK average of 21.0% and is the highest among the UK regions.

The long-term unemployment rate - those out of work for more than a year - has reduced by 9% over the year, but still stands at more than a quarter - 26%.

But the number of young people unemployed - the 18-24 year-olds - has risen from four to 11% over the past year, according to the report.

Commenting on the figures, NI Assembly Economy Minister, Nigel Dodds said: "Despite a slight rise in unemployment levels this quarter, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate remains well below the European Union average. It is the second lowest among the UK regions."


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