There is now one job for every 22 people in Northern Ireland who want to work, according to one of the largest trade union groups.
Peter Bunting, of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has said there were now 110,000 people actively seeking work in Northern Ireland with only around 5,000 jobs available.
He said unemployment figures had been “massaged” for years and didn’t reflect the true picture of those seeking jobs.
Figures show that some 60,900 people are claiming unemployment benefit . But those who are classed as “economically inactive” are not included and figures suggest around 50,000 of those wish to work. A spokeswoman for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment said statistics were in no way “massaged”.
It said the figures showed around 50,000 people “say they want work” but “are not actively seeking or available to start.”
“These people are therefore not classified as unemployed as they do not meet the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) definition for unemployment”.