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Jobless figures rise for first time in two years.

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Figures released for June 2015 show that the number of claimants in receipt of unemployment related benefits stood at 44,000, an increase of 200 over the month.

This is the first increase in over two years. Despite the latest increase, there has been a fall of 10,400 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months.

Other figures released today for the period March – May 2015 show that the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey unemployment rate was 6.2% – an increase of 0.2 percentage points over the quarter and a decrease of 0.4 percentage points over the year.

Commenting on the figures, 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%) continues to compare very favourably to the April 2015 rates for the European Union (9.7%) and the Republic of Ireland (9.7%).”

Jonathan Bell 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.”

Further information on the latest labour market figures is available in the Labour Market Statistical Press Releaseexternal link and from the Northern Ireland Executive website.

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