Belfast Telegraph

Province to face five years of economic agony

Northern Ireland is facing a particularly bleak five years of high unemployment due to the weaker economic outlook, said a new report.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicted that the jobless total will increase everywhere except the South East and London.

Regions expected to be worst affected are those depending most on the public sector, which is being hit by huge job losses due to the Government's austerity drive.

Almost a third of workers are employed in the public sector in Northern Ireland.

The UK's jobless rate is forecast to increase to 10.7% by 2016 compared with the current 8.3%, leaving it higher than at any time since 1995, following the recession of the early 1990s.

Unemployment in Wales is forecast to increase to 10.5%, the highest since comparable records began in 1992, said the CEBR.

In contrast, the labour market in the south east of England is expected to remain "relatively buoyant" over the next few years.

Rob Harbron, one of the report's authors, said: "Five more years of pain are expected for much of the UK, with unemployment continuing to rise in almost every region.

"The outlook is tough for UK households, particularly those in places with a high dependency on public sector employment. Family budgets are being squeezed between the pressures of rising unemployment, low earnings growth and stubbornly high inflation."

Unemployment fell slightly last month to 2.65 million, but analysts expect the figure to increase as more public sector job cuts are made. Unison said 625 public sector jobs have been axed every day in Britain since the election.

625

The number of jobs that are cut daily from the public sector says union

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