Northern Ireland

NI jobless figures continue to rise

Job Centre

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Northern Ireland continues to rise, even though it is falling elsewhere in the UK.

The most recent figures show that the number of people claiming unemployment jumped by 900 last month.

The total number of people in Northern Ireland who are claiming benefits is now 57,800.

The number on the dole is back at the level it was at when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in April 1998.

The monthly increase was proportionately the largest of 12 regions across the UK.

Over the year, the number of people claiming unemployment benefit has increased by 5,600. That is an increase of 10.7%, while in the UK over the same period unemployment has fallen.

By district council area, the highest rates were recorded in Derry (7.6%), Limavady (7.1%) and then Belfast (6.8%).

BBC NI business correspondent Kevin Magee said: "The underlying trend in unemployment remains upward and is showing no sign of slowing down."

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