THE number of local people out of work and claiming benefits rose by more than two per cent last month.
According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency’s September Labour Market Report, the borough’s jobless total stood at 2,378 during August - 1,629 men and 749 women. That represented an increase of 53 claimants (2.3 per cent) from the previous month, and a rise of 7.1 per cent (158 people) over the past year.
The percentage of the borough’s working age population out of work and claiming unemployment benefit now stands at 4.5 per cent - the eighth lowest figure among Northern Ireland’s 26 council areas.
Following the recent closure of Rotary in Mallusk and the announcement of significant job losses at FG Wilson, it’s expected that the borough’s jobless total will rise further in the coming months as the global economic slump continues to take its toll.
Across the province, the figures for August show that the number of unemployment benefit claimants rose by 100 from the previous month to 63,100.
The rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland (8.2 per cent) still compares favourably to equivalent rates for the European Union (10.4 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (14.8 per cent).
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster described the latest figures as “disappointing.”