Figures released for the period October – December 2015 show that the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey unemployment rate was 5.8% – a decrease of 0.1 percentage points over the quarter and unchanged over the year.
More recent figures for January 2016 show the number of claimants in receipt of unemployment related benefits stood at 37,800, a decrease of 800 over the month. There has been a fall of 10,300 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months.
The employment rate (68.8%) increased over the quarter and the year to October – December 2015, while the economic inactivity rate decreased over both periods to 26.8%.
Commenting on the figures Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “The reduction over the month in the numbers claiming unemployment related benefits, coupled with an increase in the proportion of people in work is welcome news. This has to be seen against a backdrop of continuing global uncertainty and reduced demand worldwide.”
“While the Northern Ireland unemployment rate (5.8%) is above that for the UK (5.1%), it continues to compare very favourably to the November 2015 rate for the European Union (9.1%) and the December 2015 rate for the Republic of Ireland (8.8%).”
“Today’s figures show that although there are positive signals of growth in the local economy overall, the unemployment rate remains the same as one year ago. It is important therefore local businesses continue to develop through research and development, seeking new markets and promoting inward investment. I would encourage businesses to actively seek out these opportunities and to take advantage of Invest Northern Ireland’s continued support for local businesses.”