NI unemployment falls to 5.7%


Unemployment in Northern Ireland has dropped to 5.7 per cent, with long-term unemployment also falling significantly, according to the latest figures.

The seasonally adjusted figures for the period from February to April show that unemployment fell by 0.6 of a percentage point over the previous quarter. This is 0.4 of a point lower than the same period last year and brings the total number of people unemployed in the North to 44,000.

The number of long-term unemployed dropped to 15,000 - a reduction of 9.8 per cent on the previous year.

The Northern Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Sir Reg Empey said: "It is encouraging that our unemployment rate has fallen. Northern Ireland's unemployment rate is presently lower than five other UK regions."

In the 18-to-24 age group, the number of unemployed rose by 1,000 in the past year, bringing the unemployment rate in this group to 11.5 per cent.

Unemployment in the North is lower than in Scotland (6.8 per cent) or Wales (5.8 per cent) and is below the EU average of 7.6 per cent.

Sir Reg stressed his department's commitment to further reducing unemployment.

"Although our unemployment rate is currently relatively low and the economy is making steady progress in sometimes quite adverse conditions, there are still redundancies planned, which may have an effect on future statistics.

"My Department is determined in pushing forward strategies and policies which will help support the further development of the Northern Ireland economy."