North's unemployment rate falls to lowest level in over a decade

The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade
Gareth McKeown

THE unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade according to the latest government figures.

The Labour Force Survey shows that unemployment in Northern Ireland for the period September to November was 3.8 per cent, the lowest reported figure since 2007.

The rate decreased by 0.9 per cent from the previous quarter and 1.8 per cent over the year. The decrease in unemployment over the year is the sharpest annual decrease recorded since 1997.

The Northern Ireland unemployment remains below the UK average of 4.3 per cent and well below the rates in the Republic of Ireland (6 per cent) and the EU (7.4 per cent).

While the unemployment rate has fallen again, the economic inactivity rate in the north has risen to 28.2 per cent. This is an increase of 0.1 per cent over the quarter, but a 1.7 per cent jump over the year. The current level is the highest recorded since 2010, but remains significantly below peak rates recorded in mid-2009.

In terms of those in work there was a rise of 0.6 per cent in the employment rate over the quarter to 69 per cent, with a 0.3 per cent decrease recorded over the year.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 29,200 (3.2 per cent of the workforce) in December 2017, representing an increase of 100 from the previous month's revised figure. This is the first increase since January 2013. However, since then the claimant count has fallen by 35,600 (54.9 per cent).

There were 186 confirmed redundancies in December 2017, while over the last year to December 31, there has been a 51 per cent decrease in the number of confirmed redundancies: from 3,653 in 2016 to 1,776.

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