More sign on in North but jobless rate falls to 6.7%


The number of people in Northern Ireland who signed on to receive jobless benefits jumped by 700 last month to stand at 62,500, according to latest official figures.

This is in contrast to a national UK trend which showed a slight fall in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits during April – down 13,700 to 1.59 million people.

Although the local claimant count increased in April, the unemployment rate for January to March fell modestly to 6.7 per cent. Official estimates suggest the total number of people registered as unemployed in Northern Ireland fell by 5,000 over the quarter to 57,000.

Commenting on the latest statistics, the North’s Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “It is positive to note the Northern Ireland labour market figures for the first quarter of 2012, which showed an increase in employment levels and a reduction in the unemployment rate from the last quarter.

“Our unemployment rate of 6.7 per cent compares favourably to the UK [8.2 per cent], the EU [10.2 per cent] and Republic of Ireland [14.7 per cent].”