Posted on Wednesday 18 April 2012 by Ulster Business

Job centre

The number of people joining dole queues in Northern Ireland edged up again in March, although the province’s overall unemployment rate held steady, according to official figures.

The seasonally adjusted number of people claiming unemployment benefits
stood at 61,500 in March 2012 , up 200 from the revised figure for the previous month.

At 6.7% the Northern Ireland claimant count rate was the second highest among the twelve UK regions during the month, with the overall UK rate now at 4.9%.

The wider Labour Force Suvey showed the region’s overall unemployment rate at 6.8% for the December 2011 to February 2012 period, unchanged from the previous quarter but lower than the same period last year.

Northern Ireland’s unemployment rate is below the UK average of 8.3%, the EU’s 10.1% and the Republic of Ireland’s 14.8% rate.

However, that is likely to provide little solace for those people who find themselves out of work. The statistics showed that almost half (44%) of those who are unemployed have been out of work for a year or more.

Seasonally adjusted estimates for the period December 2011 – February 2012 showed that there were 803,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland inactivity rate at 27% remained above the UK average rate (23.1%) and was the highest rate among the twelve UK regions.

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