Figures released today for the period September – November 2015 show that the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey unemployment rate was 5.9% – a decrease of 0.1 percentage points over the quarter.
More recent figures for December 2015 show that the number of claimants in receipt of unemployment related benefits has fallen to 38,700, a decrease of 500 over the month. There has been a fall of 11,000 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months.
The employment rate (68.8%) increased over the quarter and the year to September – November 2015, while economic inactivity decreased over both periods to 26.7%.
Commenting on the figures, Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said: “The figures published today contain positive messages across a range of key labour market indicators. In particular, following reductions in unemployment over the medium term, I welcome the evidence of an increase in the proportion of people in work. While there is some indication of a reduction in economic inactivity, it remains to be seen whether this will continue in future.
“At 5.9%, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate continues to compare very favourably to the October 2015 rates for the European Union (9.3%) and the Republic of Ireland (8.9%).
“Despite the good news in today’s figures, there is no room for complacency and I will continue to do everything I can to promote economic growth in Northern Ireland. Later today, I will be announcing new jobs for the Causeway Coast and Glens area, and I will also be visiting a number of companies to discuss their plans for future growth.
“It is important that local companies, with the continued support of my Department and InvestNI, seek opportunities for research and development and expansion into new markets in order to improve competitiveness and create new job opportunities for local people.”