Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland unemployment continues to fall

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Image caption The NI unemployment rate of 7.3% is below the UK average

The number of people claiming the dole in Northern Ireland is continuing to fall, according to the latest figures.

It declined for the ninth consecutive month in October.

Six hundred fewer people claimed the dole last month, bringing the total claimant count to 61,000, the Department of Enterprise said.

The other measurement of unemployment, known as the Labour Force Survey, shows a rate of 7.3% - that is also slightly down and is below the UK rate of 7.6%.

The figures also show that just over half of people who are unemployed are classed as long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for more than a year - that is down by 2.4% over the year.

The figures also estimate that the unemployment rate for 18 to 24-year-olds is 24.7% - up 5.5% points over the year.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "The decrease in the Northern Ireland unemployment rate is welcome and means that we remain below that of the UK (7.6%).

"This also compares favourably to the equivalent rates in the European Union (10.9%) and Republic of Ireland (13.6%).

"The more recent continued decrease in the unemployment rate, as well as the fall in unemployment benefit recipients, demonstrates that there is some improvement in the labour market which is to be welcomed."

Mrs Foster said a "lot of work" was going in to encouraging investment into Northern Ireland.

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