Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland unemployment rate hits historic low

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The Northern Ireland unemployment rate hit an historic low in the first quarter of 2019.

The rate fell by almost one percentage point over the quarter to reach 2.9%, which compares to a UK rate of 3.8%.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland employment rate hit a record high of 71.3%.

The record breaking figure is a measurement of the percentage of working-age adults who are in employment.

During the recession the employment rate fell as low as 64%.

The UK employment rate now stands at 76.1%, which is also the highest on record.

Economic inactivity

Northern Ireland continues to have a significantly higher rate of economic inactivity compared to the UK average.

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 rate in Northern is 26.5% compared to the UK average of 20.8%.

Nisra, the official statistics agency, said in a statement: "The improvements in the NI labour market since 2017 are consistent with the UK experience.

"Unemployment is the lowest on record, employment is at a joint record high and inactivity is one of the lowest on record.

"However, it is worth noting, while NI has the joint second lowest unemployment rate of all the UK regions, it has the second lowest employment rate and highest inactivity rate."

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