Unemployment rate fall welcomed

DUP MLA Gary Middleton has welcomed the latest labour market statistics which show Northern Ireland has the lowest unemployment rate on record. The latest rate of 3.1 percent is below the UK average of 4.25 per cent and the European Union rate of 7.1 per cent.

LFS estimates for January-March 2018 showed that 51% of those unemployed in NI were long-term unemployed (i.e. unemployed for one year or more), compared to 25.3% in the UK.

The Foyle MLA said, “These figures continue the trend from earlier in the year where we reached the joint lowest record at that point of 3.2% and private sector jobs were revealed to be at their highest level since records began.

“There cannot be complacency however and work is always required.”

The MLA said focus needs to be placed on the inacivity rate, saying: “We must also focus on the economic inactivity rate which is the highest level in the UK. Growing the economy should remain our key priority, with a focus on boosting the private sector. Action by the DUP through securing funding for key infrastructure projects such as the York Street Interchange and superfast broadband are the foundation of future growth. Both the challenges we face and the plans to make further progress are issues which should be subject to Ministerial focus and scrutiny with a working Executive looking at how best to achieve results.”