Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland dole queues nearly double in the last year

By Lindsay Fergus

Northern Ireland’s dole queues have lengthened by a massive 90.5% in the last year, new Government figures show.

An additional 21,900 people were claiming unemployment benefits last month, compared to the same period in 2008.

The figure is marginally higher than the UK increase of 88.6%.

The province’s unemployment rate now stands at 6.1% — up from 5.1% the previous quarter — after an additional 2,000 claimants registered as unemployed.

It means that 46,100 people are now jobless here. However, the figure does not include those described by the Department for Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) as ‘economically inactive’.

The Northern Ireland inactivity rate (28.6%) remained significantly higher than the UK average rate (20.7%) and was the highest of the UK regions.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Unemployment levels in Northern Ireland have continued to rise as the global recession continues to impact on our local economy.

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“We have not been alone in experiencing a deterioration.. Most UK regions and EU countries have also recorded large increases in their unemployment figures.”

On a positive note, unemployment figures here are lower than the UK average of 7.1%, less than the EU’s 7.9% and the Republic’s 10%.

The number of redundancies notified to DETI also fell in April to 523 from 674 in March. But redundancies have soared year on year by 159% to April 30 from 1,643 to 4,249.

Alliance enterprise spokesperson Sean Neeson MLA said that the increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit underlines the need for radical approaches to be taken to boost the economy.

Belfast Telegraph