Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Northern Ireland unemployment continues to rise

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The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has risen

The jobless total in Northern Ireland is continuing to rise, the latest official figures released by the government have shown.

The jobless figure increased by 200 last month to a new total of 54,000 people.

Over the year, the number of people in Northern Ireland claiming unemployment benefits has increased by 56% or 19,300 people.

One in three of those people claiming unemployment benefits is under 25.

The figures also show the number of new jobs created has fallen to 701,730, representing a fall of 5,010 over the quarter and 25,600 over the year.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment said the decrease over the quarter was driven by declines in the manufacturing, service and construction sectors.

Redundancies

The seasonally adjusted number of people of working age that were economically inactive decreased by an estimated 12,000 over the quarter.

However, the Northern Ireland inactivity rate of 28.2% remains considerably higher than the UK average rate of 21% and was the highest of the 12 UK regions.

The department said it was notified of 393 confirmed redundancies in November 2009.

This compares to 219 in the previous month and 262 in November last year.

There has also been a 94% increase in the number of confirmed redundancies over the last year to 30 November 2009 . This translates as 4,624 people made redundant compared to 2,383 in the previous year.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "The unemployment rate has remained relatively constant over the most recent period.

'Levelling off'

"However, third quarter employee job figures indicated that the construction, services and manufacturing sectors all reported continuing job losses.

"The number of confirmed redundancies has also nearly doubled this year, compared to last.

"The 'levelling off' of unemployment figures in recent months is welcome news for the NI labour market.

"However, it is difficult to say whether this is a pause in the jobless figure or if it represents the turning point that will eventually see the number of claimants fall."

Unemployment figures in Northern Ireland are measured in two ways.

The first is the Labour Force Survey rate which is an estimate giving a headline rate. It currently stands at 6.6%.

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



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