Belfast Telegraph

Youth unemployment hits 15-year-high

By Heather McGarrigle

The number of unemployed young people in Northern Ireland is at its highest rate in more than 15 years.

The latest official figures show the number of jobless people here rose to 64,000 between May and July of this year. It means the unemployment rate here is 7.4%, below the UK average of 7.9%.

The number of unemployed people across the UK jumped to 2.51m between May and July.

The unemployment rate here is also below the European Union’s (9.4%) and the Republic of Ireland’s rate, which is almost double Northern Ireland’s, at 14.2%.

The new figures show the number of people here claiming unemployment benefits increased by 100 between July and August of this year, a rise of 0.2%.

This was the lowest increase of all UK regions and compared to a rise of 1.3% for the UK as a whole.

While he welcomed these figures, Dr Esmond Birnie, PwC’s chief economist in Northern Ireland, expressed concern at the number of young people out of work. He said: “The number of people unemployed and claiming benefit in the past month increased only marginally to 7.4%, and remains well below the UK average of 7.9%.

“However, this conceals a worrying level of unemployment among local young people aged 18 to 24, which has now reached 18%.”

Figures compiled by Ulster Bank from ONS and Department of Finance data show Northern Ireland is reflecting the UK trend of rising female unemployment.

Richard Ramsey, chief economist at Ulster Bank, said: “Over the last year, the number of individuals on the dole who are male has risen by just 100 or 0.2%.

“By comparison, female unemployment has risen by 2,800, or almost 97% of the total rise in the unemployment register over the last year.”

Factfile

  • Overall unemployed in NI: 64,000
  • Overall unemployed in UK: 2.51m
  • Unemployed 18-24 year olds in NI: 22,000
  • Unemployed 18-24 year olds in UK: 769,000
  • Unemployment rate in NI: 7.4%
  • Unemployment rate in UK: 7.9%

    (Figures for May-July 2011)


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