Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland unemployment hits record low

Jobcentre Plus Image copyright PA
Image caption Northern Ireland unemployment is at its lowest rate ever

The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland fell to its lowest ever level of 3.1% in the first quarter of 2018.

That is lower than the UK rate (4.2%) for the third consecutive quarter, after consistently being above UK rates since the end of 2013.

In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, the unemployment rate in Northern Ireland peaked at 8.2%.

However, Northern Ireland continues to have higher rates of economic inactivity than the UK as a whole.

That is the proportion of working-age people who are not working and not seeking or available to work.

The inactivity rate in Northern Ireland stands at 28%, compared to a UK rate of 21%.

Of the economically inactive 82% did not want a job while 18% did.

Of those who didn't want to work, 29% were long-term sick or disabled, 27% were students, 23% were looking after the family or home, 12% were retired and 9% cited some other reason.

The latest figures also showed the employment rate, which is the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work, increased over the quarter and over the year to 69.7%

That is below below the UK average (75.6%), which was highest on record and remains the lowest rate among the twelve UK regions.

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