Belfast Telegraph

Public sector loses fewer jobs

The public sector in Northern Ireland has only shed a fraction of the jobs lost by private businesses, it has been revealed.

Civil servants were relatively sheltered from the start of the economic slowdown with 830 out of work compared with 11,755 in the private sector, figures suggested.

That is expected to change in coming months with ministers implementing swingeing cuts to their budgets.

The statistics were published by the Equality Commission for 2009 covering most workers. Employment levels for Protestants and men fell faster than for Catholics and women.

Chief commissioner Bob Collins said: "This period reflects the initial impact of the recession and also some significant demographic shifts. We must balance and judge all of the available evidence to ensure that we can properly measure any questions of unfairness in employment."

The only categories not monitored by the commission were teachers, the self-employed and those in businesses with fewer than 11 staff.

The monitored workforce in 2009 stood at 517,272, a decrease of 12,585 since 2008, or 2.4% of the total.

The Protestant share of the workforce stood at 54% compared with 45% for Roman Catholics.

The report tracks employment among Protestants, Roman Catholics, women and men, and records a drop in each of these. The falls were steeper for Protestants (6,806) than for Catholics (3,899) and also steeper for men (8,655) than for women (3,930).

The Catholic proportion of applicants has been rising steadily since 2001 when it stood at 44%. The number of Catholic applications exceeded those from Protestants for the first time in 2007, albeit by a small number. The 2009 data confirms the continuation of this trend, which has become more marked. In 2009 the Catholic share exceeded that of Protestants by 10,465.

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