Figures record drop in jobless total

FOR the second month in succession there has been a 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 2.6 per cent last month.

According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency’s July Labour Market Report, the borough’s jobless total stood at 2,254 during June - 1,584 men and 670 women. That represented a decrease of 61 claimants from the previous month, but a rise of 6.5 per cent (138 people) over the past year.

The percentage of the borough’s working age population out of work and claiming unemployment benefit now stands at 4.2 per cent, compared to an average figure of 5.3 per cent across Northern Ireland’s 26 council areas.

Across the province, the figures for June show that the number of unemployment benefit claimants rose by 0.6 per cent from the previous month to 62,900.

The rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland (6.9 per cent) still compares favourably to equivalent rates for the UK (8.1 per cent), European Union (10.3 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (14.2 per cent).