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Latest labour market figures released

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The latest labour market estimates for Northern Ireland show a slight increase in employment levels and a fall in unemployment over the quarter.

The Northern Ireland unemployment rate remains below the United Kingdom average.

The Northern Ireland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1% for the period April - June 2008. This represents a fall from the rate of 4.6% recorded last quarter, but is up from the rate of 3.8% recorded in the same period one year ago. The latest Northern Ireland rate remains below the UK average (5.4%) and is also considerably lower than the European Union rate (6.8%) for May 2008.

Seasonally adjusted figures for the same period estimate that there were 790,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland. The new figures represent an estimated increase of 0.4% in employment levels over the quarter and a rise of 0.3% over the year.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stands at 26,600. This shows an increase of 700 from the previous month and is up 3,000 over the year.

The latest seasonally adjusted working age economic inactivity rate in Northern Ireland (26.8%) was essentially unchanged from the figure of 26.9% recorded for the previous quarter. The Northern Ireland rate (26.8%) continues to be significantly higher than the UK average (20.9%) and is the highest among the UK regions.

Commenting on the figures, Economy Minister, Arlene Foster said: "Unemployment in Northern Ireland remains low, with the latest rate well below the European Union average and second lowest among the UK regions. Employment levels have also increased over the quarter and this news is particularly encouraging, given the well publicised slow down in the world economy.

“The fall-out from the credit crunch is continuing to make trading conditions very difficult for Northern Ireland businesses. However, if they remain focused on customer needs and continue to develop innovative, high-quality products and services, they can continue to compete effectively in both the local and global marketplace.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. For media enquiries, please contact DETI Press Office on 028 9052 9297. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
  2. General information can be obtained from Martin Monaghan, DETI Statistics Research Branch, on Tel: 028 9052 9421.
  3. The Labour Force Survey figures quoted are estimates and are subject to sampling error. This means that the exact figure is likely to be contained in a range surrounding the estimate quoted.
  4. Details of the sampling errors, together with more detailed statistical information and definitions of the methodology used, can be found in the Labour Market Report (LMR)link to external website, which is available on the following Department of Enterprise, Trade and Invesment websitelink to external website