Posted on Wednesday 12 November 2014 by Ulster Business

Unemployment falls but still work to do

The continued improvement in the Northern Ireland economy has helped drive the unemployment rate lower, according to latest government statistics.

It stood at 6% in the three months to September, a fall of 1.3% on the same time last year and down 0.6% on the previous quarter.

The move brings the percentage of people out of work here in line with the rate across the whole of the UK but there’s still work to be done.

One-in-five young people are still out of work here, a figure which is down from one-in-four a year ago but is still well above the 15.1% rate across the UK as a whole.

And the Achilles heel of the Northern Ireland employment market, the economically inactive rate, climbed again in the quarter.

The number of people of working age not actively looking for work climbed by 3,000 and stands at 27%, well ahead of the 22.2% rate across the rest of the UK.

“Northern Ireland’s latest batch of labour market data is littered with positives and fresh record highs,” Richard Ramsey, economist at Ulster Bank said. “However, beneath the headlines a number of challenges remain.  Not least the fact that the younger generation are still experiencing no meaningful labour market recovery.”

Still, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the fall in the headline unemployment rate is encouraging.

“Northern Ireland has seen significant investment and job creation recently as a result of support from Invest NI for Northern Ireland businesses,” she said.

 “The NI Executive has recognised the importance of growing the private sector in this way with a continued focus on export led growth in the recent draft Budget for 2015-16. In a very constrained public spending environment, this is welcome news.”

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