Figures show rise in local jobless total

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The number of people out of work and claiming benefits in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area increased by almost three per cent last month, according to the latest government figures.

The August Labour Market Report reveals that the local jobless total stood at 2,198 during July - 1,516 men and 682 women - a rise of 2.8 per cent (60 people) from the previous month.

The borough’s claimant count (2.5 per cent of the working age population) is the fourth lowest among the 11 council areas.

According to the NI Statistics and Research Agency, the local jobless total has dropped by four per cent (92 people) over the past year.

The number of people out of work and claiming benefits across Northern Ireland fell by 600 during July to 36,100.

According to the Department for the Economy, the unemployment claimant figure has fallen by 6,900 over the last 12 months, and the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits has fallen by 28,600 since the most recent peak in February 2013.

Commenting on the figures, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: “Creating more and better jobs is a key priority for me so it is great that the unemployment level in Northern Ireland continues to head in the right direction.

“I am encouraged to see almost 7,000 fewer people on the unemployment register compared to one year ago. The Northern Ireland unemployment rate is also continuing to head in the right direction, reducing by 0.5 percentage points over the year to six per cent, and comparing very favourably to the European Union average of 8.6 per cent.

“We will continue to work hard to build on this progress as we seek to achieve our aim of building a globally competitive economy.”