Northern Ireland

NI unemployment benefit claimant figures fall for 15th consecutive month

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Image caption The number of unemployed people in Northern Ireland has fallen for the 15th month in a row

The number of people on unemployment benefit in Northern Ireland is continuing to fall with the number of claims down by 800 in April.

It is the 15th consecutive monthly fall and the number now stands at 56,100.

The jobless figure has fallen by almost 9,000 over that 15 month period.

However, the percentage of the working age population claiming the benefit remains the highest in the UK. It is currently 6.2%.

The other measurement of unemployment, the Labour Force Survey, shows a quarterly rate of 7.2%, down by 0.1% on the previous quarter.

That remains above the UK average rate of 6.8% but is well below the Republic of Ireland rate of 11.9%.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) questions a number of people every month on their employment status, and is the most widely used by labour market economists as it allows international comparisons.

The figures for April also point to a fall in long-term unemployment, down 13% over the year, and youth unemployment, down 2.5% over the year.

The economic inactivity rate, that is mainly people, who for a variety of reasons, are not looking for a job, stands at 26.8%.

It is unchanged over the quarter and down marginally over the year, remaining well above the UK average rate of 21.9%.

Last year, the Stormont Executive launched a strategy aimed at tackling the problem of economic inactivity.

It aims to get 30,000 more people into work over the next 10 years.

Part of the plan includes setting up a task force and incentive schemes for employers.

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