Unemployment levels fall to nine-year low, but economic inactivity a pressing concern

The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in nine years
Gareth McKeown

THE unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in nine years according to the latest government figures.

The Labour Force Survey, released this morning shows the unemployment rate for July to September was 4 per cent, the lowest since 2008. The figure is 1.2 per cent down on the last quarter, with the claimant falling by 100 over the month to 29,300 in October (3.2 per cent of the workforce).

The equivalent UK unemployment rate was also down over the quarter and over the year to 4.3 per cent, but this is the first time in four years that the north's unemployment rate has been below the UK.

The positive news is offset by an increase in the economic inactivity rate and a fall in the number of those in employment.

The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work was 28.9 per cent between July and September, representing an increase of 2. per cent over the quarter and 3. per cent over the year.

The employment rate decreased over the quarter by 1 per cent and by 1.7 per cent over the year, leaving the current level of 68.1 per cent in Northern Ireland

There were 255 confirmed redundancies in October and over the last year to October 31 there has been a 41 per cent decrease in the number of confirmed redundancies: from 3,440 in the previous year to 2,045.

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