Page last updated at 10:32 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Rise in NI unemployment figures

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The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland is expected to rise again.

New figures show the overall trend in unemployment in NI remains upwards.

However, for the first time since February 2008 there has been no monthly increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit.

The estimated unemployment rate for July-September rose to 7.2% from 6.8% in the previous quarter.

The rate for July until September of 2008 was 4.2% and the annual increase was the highest since the current system of measurement began in 1995.

Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said: "While not unexpected, it is disappointing to see a rise in the unemployment rate during the third quarter of 2009."

"However, the more recent claimant count figures for October 2009 show that for the first time in 20 months, the number of unemployment benefit recipients in Northern Ireland did not rise over the month.

'Pause'

"The unchanged figures for Northern Ireland compare with a continued rise in claimant levels in the UK."

She added: "It is clear that the local labour market has been particularly hit by the recession, and trading conditions for many of our companies remain difficult.

"However, any pause in the rate of increase in unemployed claimants is to be welcomed."

The number claiming benefits stands at 53,000 in Northern Ireland

Just over 750,000 people are in employment in Northern Ireland, which was a marginal increase from the previous quarter but down 4.4% over the year.

Over the past year, the number of people on the dole in Northern Ireland has increased by 70.5% - an increase of 22,200 - which is higher than the overall rate increase in the UK.

Unemployment figures in Northern Ireland are measured two ways.

The first is the Labour Force Survey rate which is an estimate giving a headline rate.

The second is a count of the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance in each council area.



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