Northern Ireland was not performing as well as it could in terms of getting people into jobs, the Employment and Learning Minister said, on 14 November 2012.
Unemployment figures released on the same day showed that one in five young people in Northern Ireland were currently without work.
The statistics also revealed that more than 50% of those unemployed had been out of work for a year or more, a figure up 12% on the previous year
Stephen Farry was appearing before the Stormont committee which scrutinises the work of his department.
"Looking at all of the regions across the UK, our performance is very much at the lower end of that spectrum," he said.
"So we are not doing as well as potentially we can do as a region in terms of getting people into employment."
The minister said a new work programme, Steps to Success, was expected to be introduced in February 2014.
He said it would offer a longer period of support to jobseekers than was currently available with the Steps to Work programme.
It offers advice and opportunities for people hoping to move into employment.
Mr Farry also spoke on employment law and economic measures.