Number of people joining dole queue continues to rise

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THE number of local people out of work and claiming benefits rose by almost three per cent during February.

According to the government’s latest Labour Market Report, the borough’s jobless total stood at 2,395 - 1,738 men and 657 women. That represents an increase of 2.7 per cent (62 people) from the previous month, and a rise of 4.7 per cent (108 people) over the past year.

The percentage of Newtownabbey’s working age population out of work and claiming benefits now stands at 4.5 per cent.

Across Northern Ireland, the unemployment rate continued to rise during the last quarter (November - January), up 0.7 per cent to 8.5 per cent.

Commenting on the overall figures, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Although there has been a rise in the unemployment rate over the quarter, the number of people on the more recent claimant count in February remained unchanged. The rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland (8.5 per cent) still compares favourably to the rates in the European Union (10.7 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (14.7 per cent).”