Rise in jobless in North in three months to July, but small drop in August

Unemployment rate stands at 6.2 per cent

The North’s long-term jobless rate of 58 per cent is nearly twice that of the UK

The North’s long-term jobless rate of 58 per cent is nearly twice that of the UK

 

The number of people claiming jobless benefits fell in the North last month by 1,000.

But the latest labour market statistics also show that the number of people out of work rose to 54,000 over the three months to July.

It is the second consecutive quarterly increase in the number of people out of work and as the jobless rate in the North hit 6.2 per cent for the period May to July the average UK rate remained unchanged at 5.5 per cent.

The proportion of people with a job in Northern Ireland decreased over the quarter and year to 67.8 per cent.

The government figures released on Wednesday reflect an economy still battling to recover from the headwinds of the downturn, growth is marginal and major issues from long term unemployment to economic inactivity present major challenges for the future.

Long-term jobless

The North’s long-term jobless rate of 58 per cent is nearly twice that of the UK (29.4 per cent).

The youth unemployment rate is also significantly higher in Northern Ireland at 20.2 per cent compared to the UK average of 14.3 per cent.

It is usual for the North’s enterprise minister to comment on the latest labour labour market figures but this week as a result of the ongoing political crisis at Stormont there is no acting enterprise minister - which according to one local economist sums up part of the problem facing the economy now.

Danske Bank chief economist Angela McGowan said the labour market statistics show that “policy intervention and strong political leadership are badly needed”.

“The latest data for Northern Ireland suggest that the labour market has, at best, remained static.

“Allowing our economy to drift is not an option. Our political leaders need to work on securing inward investment and delivering support for enterprise. Northern Ireland cannot afford to deter potential inward investors with political uncertainty.”