Unemployment figure is Northern Ireland's only growth area
Northern Ireland continues to outshine the UK - and not in a good way. The province recorded an increase in unemployment claimants of 900 in August, following an increase of 800 the month before. It was the sharpest rise of all UK regions - while the UK as a whole experienced the first rise in its claimant count since January.
As Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank chief economist, points out, Northern Ireland's unemployment register has gone up for 31 out of the 36 months since the credit crunch took hold. The claimant count has gone up almost threefold since then. Mr Ramsey said there is unlikely to be a return to the fruitful days of job creation seen post-1998. "Northern Ireland's employment creation over the last decade was dominated by public sector, construction and retail. These sectors are set to experience severe job losses."