Belfast Telegraph

Dole queues shorten in Northern Ireland but unemployment rises over last quarter

By John Mulgrew

The number of people joining doles in Northern Ireland fell by 400 last month, the latest figures have shown.

But the number of people unemployed here has risen by 1,000 in the three months to June this year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) — sitting at 6.5%.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits dropped by 400 over the month and decreased by 9,400 over the year to 43,500 in July 2015.

That's according to the latest Labour Market Report.

Last month, the first rise in the number of people joining dole queues here in more than two years was attributed to a weakening in Northern Ireland's labour market.

The market report said unemployment-related benefits rose by 200 to 44,000 in June, the first increase in 28 months.

But Northern Ireland's unemployment rate remains above the UK average.

And the rate of long term unemployment stood at 58.6%. That's an increase on the previous year.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said while the decrease in the number of claimants of unemployment related benefits in July is welcomed, two quarterly increases in the number of those unemployed “reiterate the continued challenges faced by the Northern Ireland labour market and the impact of continued uncertainty in global markets”.

Meanwhile, UK wide unemployment levels increased increased for the second month in a row, reaching 1.85m.

The jobless total went up by 25,000 in the quarter to June, the first time there have been two consecutive rises for two years.

The ONS said it was possible the jobs market was "levelling off".

Other figures showed that the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 4,900 last month to 792,400 following a slight increase in June.

There were 31m people in work in the latest quarter, 63,000 fewer than the three months to March, but 354,000 more than a year ago.

A record 14.5m women are in work, while employment for men slumped by 71,000 to just under 16.5m compared with the previous quarter.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: "This is now the second consecutive time we've reported fewer people in work on the quarter.

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