Sharp rise in jobless total across borough

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

The February Labour Market Report reveals that the local jobless total stood at 2,228 during January - 1,600 men and 628 women - an increase of 113 people from the previous month.

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

According to the NI Statistics and Research Agency, the local jobless total has dropped by 14.7 per cent (385 people) over the past year.

Across Northern Ireland, the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits fell by 800 in January to 37,800.

The Northern Ireland unemployment rate now stands at 5.8 per cent, 0.7 per cent higher than the overall UK rate.