Belfast Telegraph

Unemployment rises in Northern Ireland for second consecutive quarter

The unemployment rate has increased in Northern Ireland for the second successive quarter.

From April to June the rate rose by 0.3% to 6.5%, according to official figures.

There were 56,000 unemployed in Northern Ireland at the end of the quarter - up by 1,000.

However, figures based on another jobless measure showed that, during July, the numbers claiming unemployment benefit fell by 400 to 43,500.

There are 9,400 fewer people claiming unemployment benefits on this time last year.

The Labour Market Report was published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Stormont Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: "The decrease in the number of claimants of unemployment related benefits in July is welcomed, although two quarterly increases in the unemployment rate sees a return to levels reported a year ago.

"The latest figures reiterate the continued challenges faced by the Northern Ireland labour market and the impact of continued uncertainty in global markets.

"The Northern Ireland unemployment rate (6.5%) is above that for the UK (5.6%) however it continues to compare favourably to the April 2015 rates for the European Union (9.6%) and the Republic of Ireland (9.8%)."

Mr Bell added: "In the face of these challenges it is important local businesses continue to seek new foreign investment and export opportunities.

"It was pleasing to hear from, for example, the Chamber of Commerce Survey that company orders and new business remain encouraging and this more positive outlook is generating recruitment and investment.

"Through Invest Northern Ireland we are determined to support local companies in expanding into new markets and improve competitiveness, albeit recognising the recent issues in the eurozone, and the consequential strengthening of sterling, have made this challenge greater.

"My continued aim is to ensure the Executive collectively supports a business environment that is attractive to inward investors and encourages locally owned companies to grow."


From Belfast Telegraph