Employment rate in Northern Ireland at 'record high'

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Northern Ireland has the lowest employment rate of the 12 UK regions

Northern Ireland's employment rate rose to a record high of 70.3% at the end of last year.

The data measures the percentage of working-age adults who are in employment.

In the period October to December 2018, the rate increased by 1.7 percentage points compared to the same period in 2017.

Despite the increase the Northern Ireland employment rate is still well below the whole UK rate of 75.8%.

Northern Ireland also has the lowest employment rate of the 12 UK regions.

During the recession the employment rate reached a low of 64%.

'Not apparent'

The UK rate was at a joint record high in December, since comparable estimates began in 1971.

The latest job market statistics also suggest that economic inactivity in Northern Ireland fell at the end of 2018, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%.

Economic inactivity is a measurement of those people who are not in work and not looking for work - that includes students, retired people and sick or disabled people.

The inactivity rate was 26.8% at the end of 2018, down 1.6 percentage points compared to the same period last year.

However statistics agency Nisra says the change was not statistically significant and a "consistent downward trend is not apparent in the NI data".