Northern Ireland

NI dole count falls but economic inactivity continues to rise

Job Centre Plus sign Image copyright PA
Image caption The number of economically inactive people in Northern Ireland has risen for the third quarter

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Northern Ireland continued to fall in June.

The claimant count was down by 600 over the month to 30,500, which was the 16th consecutive monthly decrease.

However, the figures also suggest that economic inactivity is rising again.

Economic inactivity refers to people of working age who are neither in work or looking for a job. The rate in Northern Ireland is persistently above the UK average.

It had been on a downward trend from 2013/14 but has now increased over the last three quarters.

The inactivity rate now stands at 27.4% compared to a UK rate of 21.5%.

Of the estimated 321,000 economically inactive people in Northern Ireland, just under a third were long-term sick or disabled.

Just over a quarter were students, 23% were looking after the family/home, 10% were retired and 8% cited another reason for inactivity.

In 2015, the Northern Ireland Executive published a strategy for tackling economic inactivity.

It aimed to support people with work-limiting health conditions, lone parents and people with caring commitments to get back into work.

The strategy has not been implemented due to budget pressures.

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