Fall in Northern Ireland unemployment welcomed

The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland was 6.9 per cent in the three months to July, falling below that of the UK, figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA) have shown.

Key figures from the NISRA data show:

  • A total of 698,390 employee jobs in June 2013
  • A 0.9 per cent fall in unemployment in the country from the previous quarter, and a fall of 1.2 per cent compared with one year ago
  • 55.9 per cent of those unemployed in the month to July had been out of work for one year or more - up 10.4 per cent from the same period last year
  • Unemployment among 18-24 year olds stood at 20.3 per cent in the three months to June.

Northern Ireland's Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster welcomed the country's falling unemployment rate, which now stands below the average for the UK (7.7 per cent), the European Union (10.9 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (13.5 per cent).

"The more recent unemployment benefit figures for August continue to show encouraging signs as this is the seventh consecutive month in which there has been a fall in this measure of unemployment," she said.

"This is also the longest period over which we have seen a sustained decrease in unemployment for nearly six years."

The Minister continued: "The continued decrease in the unemployment rate, supported by the recent increase in overall jobs, is encouraging and reflects Northern Ireland's strengthening economic position. There were more positive signs for the private sector earlier this week, when the Purchasing Managers Index for August showed that business activity here grew at its fastest rate in six years."