Bell Comments On Latest Labour Market Figures

Figures released for the period April – June 2015 show that the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey unemployment rate was 6.5%, an increase of 0.3 percentage points over the quarter and a decrease of 0.1 percentage points over the year.

dn_screenMore recent figures for July 2015 show that the number of claimants in receipt of unemployment related benefits stood at 43,500, a decrease of 400 over the month. There has been a fall of 9,400 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “The decrease in the number of claimants of unemployment related benefits in July is welcomed, although two quarterly increases in the unemployment rate sees a return to levels reported a year ago. The latest figures reiterate the continued challenges faced by the Northern Ireland labour market and the impact of continued uncertainty in global markets.

“The Northern Ireland unemployment rate (6.5%) is above that for the UK (5.6%) however it continues to compare favourably to the April 2015 rates for the European Union (9.6%) and the Republic of Ireland (9.8%).”

The Minister added: “In the face of these challenges it is important local businesses continue to seek new foreign investment and export opportunities. It was pleasing to hear from, for example, the Chamber of Commerce Survey that company orders and new business remain encouraging and this more positive outlook is generating recruitment and investment. Through Invest Northern Ireland we are determined to support local companies in expanding into new markets and improve competitiveness, albeit recognising the recent issues in the eurozone, and the consequential strengthening of sterling, have made this challenge greater.

“My continued aim is to ensure the Executive collectively supports a business environment that is attractive to inward investors and encourages locally owned companies to grow.”