NW still worst of the worst for joblessness

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The unemployment rate across Northern Ireland increased for the first time in 28 months in June and the new Derry City and Strabane District Council continued to have the worst figures in the province.

The most recent labour market report for Northern Ireland showed that the highest claimant count rates in June 2015 were in Londonderry and Strabane (7.1 per cent) and Belfast (4.9 per cent).

Key findings of the report were that the NI claimant count was higher than the UK average and the highest rate among the twelve UK regions.

Thus Londonderry is literally the worst of the worst in terms of joblessness.

Other findings were that the amount of youth claimants province-wide increased over the month but decreased over the year and that 37 per cent of claimants had been claiming benefits for over a year.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said: “Although unemployment measures show an increase over the most recent period, the levels and rates remain below those recorded a year ago.

“The latest figures highlight the continued challenges faced by the Northern Ireland labour market and the impact of continued uncertainty in global markets.

“The Northern Ireland unemployment rate (6.2 per cent) continues to compare very favourably to the April 2015 rates for the European Union (9.7 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (9.7 per cent).”

He added: “Local businesses continue to attract significant investment both locally and internationally due to the benefits of Northern Ireland as a cost-competitive location, with developed infrastructure and a highly skilled workforce. InvestNI is instrumental in securing significant investment in the economy and I continue to encourage local companies to explore the range of tailored support Programmes from InvestNI in order to expand existing markets and improve competitiveness.

“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.”