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Continued jobs growth in Northern Ireland

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Figures released today show that the number of jobs in Northern Ireland has risen to the highest figure on record.

While there has been a slight increase in the unemployment rate it remains below the UK average.

Seasonally adjusted figures from the Quarterly Employment Survey estimated that there were 722,070 employee jobs filled in December 2007, representing a net increase of 1,900 over the quarter and an increase of 13,410 over the year. The overall increase over the quarter was driven by rises in Service Sector jobs (+2,030) and Manufacturing jobs (+220), however there was a decrease in Construction jobs (-420) over the same period.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Northern Ireland was estimated at 4.4% for the period November 2007 - January 2008. This represents a slight increase from both the rate recorded in the previous quarter (4.0%) and from the rate for the same period one year ago (4.3%). The Northern Ireland unemployment rate remains below the UK average (5.2%) and is also considerably lower than the European Union, (EU) 27 rate (6.8%) for December 2007.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stands at 23,900. This shows an increase of 100 from the previous month, but is down 1,900 over the year.

The latest seasonally adjusted working age economic inactivity rate in Northern Ireland (27.1%) is up slightly from the rate for the previous quarter (27.0%). The latest Northern Ireland rate (27.1%) remains significantly higher than the UK average (21.0%) and it continues to be the highest of all the UK regions.

Commenting on the figures, Economy Minister Nigel Dodds said: "The news that the number of jobs in Northern Ireland has once again risen to record levels is very encouraging. This increase has been achieved in what are very challenging global trading conditions and the continued jobs growth is a testament to the resilience of the Northern Ireland business community. The success of private sector services in particular has been a key driver in the labour market growth, accounting for some 70% of the annual increase in jobs.

“We want to instil a climate whereby all our businesses are market aware and focussed on developing and improving their products and services. If our businesses can concentrate on becoming internationally competitive, they can seize the opportunities available and sustain jobs growth for years to come.”

Notes to Editors:

1. 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.

2. 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), which is available on the DETI websitelink to external website.

3. General information can be obtained from Martin Monaghan, DETI Statistics Research Branch, on Tel: 028 9052 9421.

4. For media enquiries contact DETI Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.