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NI redundancies double and unemployment rises to 2.9%

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Northern Ireland's unemployment rate has soared.

Northern Ireland's unemployment rate has soared.

Northern Ireland's unemployment rate has soared.

Redundancies in Northern Ireland have more than doubled over the year, latest figures show.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit also increased by over 0.6%. Overall unemployment rose to 2.9%

The latest labour market statistics show just over 9,000 redundancies have been proposed in the 12 months up to the end of August. That was more than double the previous 12 months.

The redundancies cover 15 of the 21 industry sectors in NI and around 90 different employers. The previous year that was across six sectors involving 20 firms.

During August, 700 redundancies were proposed, a decrease on the previous month’s 1,940, and 820 redundancies were confirmed, an increase from the 670 in July. A further 880 were proposed in the current month to 14th September.

Under law companies have to inform the Stormont's Department for the Economy of impending redundancies of 20 or more people. The latest figures come ahead of the winding down of the coronavirus furlough support scheme at the end of October.

Elsewhere 62,000 are claiming unemployment benefit. In August the figure jumped by 800, an increase of 1.2%.

The figures also show the first quarterly decline in employee jobs since the end of 2015. Manufacturing was the only broad industry sector to experience a decrease in employee jobs over the year.

Economist Richard Ramsey said the local labour market was at "tipping point".

"Relatively modest job losses at this stage but labour market is playing catch-up with record rates of decline in output," he tweeted.

"Covid19 impact on jobs data. Increased demand for health related jobs but the new working from home era means many admin an support service activities will no longer be required."

Overall the UK employment rate grew by 4.1%

The number of people employed across the UK shrank by almost 700,000 people between March and August. Those between the age of 16 and 24 saw the biggest drop in employment with an increase of 156,000 out of work.

Northern Ireland has the lowest employment rate of UK regions and the highest economic inactivity rate of all UK regions.

Belfast Telegraph