Dale Farm creates 60 jobs in Tyrone as jobless rate trends down

North’s Economy Minister says unemployment rate of 6% heading in right direction

Dale Farm, the farmer owned co-operative, has created 60 jobs at a new cheese processing and packing plant in Co Tyrone.

The jobs boost at its Dunmanbridge cheese plant near Cookstown comes as the latest UK government labour market statistics released on Wednesday showed a drop in the number of people out of work in Northern Ireland.

Between April and June the North’s jobless total fell by 1,000 people to 53,000 – bringing the local unemployment rate to 6 per cent – which is still above the overall UK unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent.


The latest figures also show the number of people claiming jobless related benefits in Northern Ireland fell last month by 600 to 36,100.


The North's Economy Minister Simon Hamilton, who officially opened the new cheese plant on Wednesday, said: "I am encouraged to see almost 7,000 fewer people on the unemployment register compared to one year ago.

"The Northern Ireland unemployment rate is also continuing to head in the right direction, reducing by 0.5 percentage points over the year to 6 per cent and comparing very favourably to the European Union average of 8.6 per cent."

However, Richard Ramsey, Northern Ireland chief economist at Ulster Bank, said that, while the latest labour market statistics highlighted encouraging trends, he believes that the local labour market recovery would "not have occurred without access to labour from beyond these shores".


Mr Ramsey has warned that access to the single market for labour is a key and long-term issue for the North following the Brexit vote in June.

“The number of people in work in Northern Ireland has risen by 83,000 since the depths of the recession in quarter two 2009, and some 42 per cent of this rise, amounting to 35,000 people, were born outside the UK.

“The number of people working in Northern Ireland who were not born in the UK has risen by almost two-thirds over the last eight years. In quarter one 2016, over one in 10 workers in Northern Ireland were born outside the UK,” Mr Ramsey said.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business