Northern Ireland

Number claiming unemployment benefits drops by 600

The fall follows two successive months of increases and the unemployment rate now stands at 37,900
Image caption The fall follows two successive months of increases and the unemployment rate now stands at 37,900

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in Northern Ireland has fallen by 600.

It is the first drop after three months of successive increases.

The total now stands at 37,900, according to official government-published figures for April.

They also reveal another drop in economic inactivity to its lowest rate since records began in 1995, although it remains a much worse problem locally than in the rest of the UK.

Economic inactivity refers to people who are neither in work or looking for a job.

In Northern Ireland, 26% of working-age adults are inactive, compared to a UK rate of 22%.

In late 2010, the local rate stood at 28%.

Strategy

The last Northern Ireland Executive developed a strategy to tackle the problem, but it was not implemented due to budgetary pressures.

While overall the labour market data contains several improvements, Northern Ireland continues to lag behind the rest of the UK in numerous areas, including those in work.

The employment rate here is 69%, which is the lowest of the 12 UK regions.

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