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Northern Ireland jobs hit record high but redundancies jump 16%

The number of employee jobs hit 778,240 (Steve Parsons/PA)
The number of employee jobs hit 778,240 (Steve Parsons/PA)

The number of jobs across Northern Ireland is the highest on record, according to new figures.

Statistics from the Department for the Economy (DfE) show that, over the last quarter, the number of employee jobs hit 778,240 - with more than 15,000 added over the last 12 months.

While jobs increased, however, the amount of people made redundant over the last 12 months was 16% higher than the previous year. In May alone 581 people lost their jobs.

All four of Northern Ireland's main industry sectors saw growth over the last year, with the services sector, which accounts for 81% of jobs, making up 77% of all growth.

As of April 1, the unemployment rate was 3.1% - below the UK average (3.8%) and the EU average (6.4%).

Two-fifths (40.1%) of those without a job in Northern Ireland were "long-term unemployment", meaning they have been unemployed for more than a year. This is compared to 27.7% across the UK.

A DfE spokesperson said: "The continued improvements in the NI labour market are consistent with the UK experience, where the number of employee jobs is at a record high, employment is at a joint high, inactivity is one of the lowest on record and unemployment is joint lowest on record.

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"However, it is worth noting, when compared to the other UK regions, NI has the second lowest employment rate and highest inactivity rate."

Tina McKenzie of the Federation of Small Businesses said that, while the employment figures are welcoming, they should not be taken for granted.

"FSB’s latest Small Business Index showed that 7 out of 10 firms aren’t expecting performance to improve in the next quarter," she said.

“In order to create the right economic landscape for smaller businesses to prosper, the incoming Prime Minister must remedy the Brexit impasse as soon as possible.

"In Northern Ireland, the political parties must find consensus to restore devolved government, so important projects, such as on broadband and infrastructure, can progress and small businesses can receive the support they deserve.”

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