Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland unemployment level rises by 4,000 in three months

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland's unemployment level is once again on the rise, and higher than almost any other region in the UK, up by 4,000 in just three months.

And the number of people on the dole also increased during March, according to the latest Government statistics.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased by 200 over the month, to 38,600 in March.

Overall unemployment levels rose to 56,000 between December and February, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Over the quarter and the year, the employment rate increased and the economic inactivity rate decreased. The employment rate is close to its previous high point and the economic inactivity rate is the lowest since the series began in 1995.

It's the second consecutive month that the number of persons on the claimant count has increased but only the third occasion an increase was recorded in the last 37 months.

Danske Bank's chief economist Angela McGowan said:

“Economic growth and job creation are dependent on a stable macroeconomic environment and unfortunately in the months ahead economic uncertainty will rise as the EU referendum approaches.

"With two successive months of rising unemployment claimants, local policy makers must remain relentlessly focused on aligning investment in areas such as skills, education and infrastructure with our long-term economic goals.

"As we embark on creating a new Programme for Government in Northern Ireland there is still plenty of work to be done in terms of raising exports, increasing the number of new businesses formed and also ensuring that the region has the appropriate infrastructure to allow both local businesses and foreign investors to thrive and thereby support local job creation."

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