Posted on Wednesday 21 March 2018 by John Mulgrew
The labour market in Northern Ireland is continuing to improve as the number of people in work has increased, according to fresh official figures.
The latest Labour Force Survey shows that the unemployment rate for the period November 2017 to January 2018 was 3.2% - the joint lowest rate on record.
Meanwhile, the overall number of people in work increased to 69.8%, over the quarter.
The data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) shows job growth figures are similarly up-beat.
According to the quarterly employment survey, in the year to December 2017 the total number of employees grew by 15,090.
“There are some good results but, just as we should not confuse a single day of good weather with spring, there are grounds for caution,” according to Dr Esmond Birnie of theUlster University Economic Policy Centre.
Northern Ireland’s economic inactivity rate remains close to 28%, with a gap relative to the UK average of about 7%.
Mr Mark Magill, senior economist at the Economic Policy Centre, said
"One of the positives in this data is that total full-time employment of males, as of December 2017, has returned to its pre-downturn (2008) peak levels”.
And the number of those claiming unemployment benefits fell by 100 in February, dropping to 28,700.