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One third of north's adults doesn't have a job

The north's employment rates have been consistently below the rest of the UK

NORTHERN Ireland's official unemployment rate may be at its lowest level for a decade but new research shows that almost one-in-three of the region's working-age adults does not have a job.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has said little progress has been made on reducing poverty in the north, with too many people being locked out of the opportunity to secure a decent standard of living.

Published today, JRF's 'Poverty in Northern Ireland 2018' monitoring report sets out regional poverty rates alongside the challenges facing low income families.

It claims 370,000 people live in poverty in Northern Ireland – the equivalent of around one in five of the population.

Defining poverty as when a person’s resources are well below their minimum needs, including the need to take part in society, JRF says the Northern Ireland total is made up of 110,000 children, 220,000 working-age adults and 40,000 pensioners.

In January, the north's jobless rate was 3.8 per cent, below the UK average of 4.3 per cent. However, the JRF survey suggests those figures mask the true picture and that Northern Ireland has rates of economic inactivity than elsewhere, with the proportion of people in poverty in the region's workless households increasing slightly over time, in contrast to the UK as a whole.

Over the last 20 years, the north's employment rates have been consistently below the rest of the UK, around 5-7 percentage points lower than in England. After reaching 70 per cent in 2016, the figure for the first quarter of 2017 indicated a slight reverse, falling to 68 per cent.

JRF chief executive Campbell Robb said: "Northern Ireland has not seen the same benefits from rising employment as the rest of Great Britain, meaning more families are locked out of opportunities to build a decent, secure life.

"But we know action can be taken to create a prosperous, poverty-free Northern Ireland, built on the foundation of more and better jobs with decent wages."

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