Belfast Telegraph

1,500 more people join dole queues

Another 1,500 people joined the dole queues last month, pushing the numbers signing on closer to the half million mark.

Latest official figures show 14.3% of the workforce jobless, with 470,284 people claiming unemployment benefits in July. The average unemployment rate last year was 13.6%.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed more than four times as many women as men joined the live register during last month.

During the past year there was a 3.7% increase in the number of women claiming benefits and a slight drop in the number of men.

However men remain more likely to be out of work than women.

The number of long-term claimants has increased by 45,508 to 190,062 over the past year.

This means more than 40% of those on the dole have been so for more than a year - compared with just over 30% the same time last year.

Isme, which represents smaller businesses, said the latest figures show the government's jobs initiative is not working.

Mark Fielding, Isme chief executive, said 225 redundancies every day in July underlined the severity of the problem, and he warned that one in five smaller businesses has indicated it will be forced into further lay-offs unless serious action is taken.

"The expected but still shocking live register and redundancy figures show quite clearly that the government's action is not having the desired effect on the jobs situation, as evidenced by these numbers," he said.

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