THERE has been a slight fall in the number of local people out of work and claiming benefits.
The government’s latest figures reveal that Newtownabbey’s unemployment level dropped by 0.1 per cent last month.
According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency’s Labour Market Report, the borough’s jobless total stood at 2,315 during May - 1,660 men and 655 women. That represented a decrease of two people from the previous month, but a rise of 7.9 per cent (170 people) over the past year.
The percentage of the borough’s working age population out of work and claiming unemployment benefit now stands at 4.3 per cent - the ninth lowest figure of Northern Ireland’s 26 council areas.
As the harsh economic climate continues to bite, the statistics reveal that the Coole and Dunanney wards have the highest level of unemployment in Newtownabbey, with the lowest levels being recorded in Ballynure, Ballyrobert and Jordanstown.
Across Northern Ireland, the figures for May show that the number of unemployment benefit claimants rose by 0.5 per cent from the previous month to 62,600.
Meanwhile, in a bid to boost the local economy, MEP Diane Dodds recently launched a new funding directory for Northern Ireland businesses.
“The European Union has a large portfolio of funding programmes that may not be well-known within the Northern Ireland business community. Hence, I have launched a Directory of Funding for businesses containing 38 funding programmes as well as four key support initiatives on obtaining financial support,” the DUP representative explained.
Welcoming the launch of the publication, North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds added: “It is essential that businesses are made aware of funding streams which are available to them. This handy publication provides key details of a range of such programmes which businesses may not have been aware of.
“Whilst many businesses associate the EU with increased interference and bureaucracy, it is vital that we also ensure that local businesses are given assistance to apply to relevant EU funding programmes.”