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Northern Ireland has highest jobless rate rise in UK

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Northern Ireland increased by 600 in January.

With 59,100 on the allowance, Northern Ireland recorded the largest annual increase in its unemployment rate among the UK regions and - at 8% - is above the UK average.

In the past year the jobless total in Northern Ireland has risen by 3,600 or 6.5%, while over the same period unemployment in the UK as a whole has fallen by almost 10%.

Almost one in four young people aged between 18 and 24 who are looking for a job are now unable to find work.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "Clearly the Northern Ireland labour market continues to face significant pressures and the figures released today highlight the necessity of rebuilding the economy in the aftermath of the recession by developing employment opportunities."

"I am very aware of the pressures and strains that unemployment is placing on families throughout Northern Ireland. It is imperative that action is taken to ensure that those who are currently unemployed are provided with opportunities to return to employment."

The draft budget includes a short-term employment scheme.

Ms Foster added: "We must also work toward rebalancing the economy over the medium to longer term in order to ensure that the recovery is sustainable."

Belfast Telegraph