Northern Ireland jobless rate falls to 5.4%

Jobless total falls to 47,000, the lowest level since before recession, figures show

The number of people without a job in Northern Ireland has fallen to 47,000, the lowest level since before the recession, according to latest government figures.

Labour market statistics indicate that in the three months to April the jobless rate in the North fell to 5.4 per cent – which is still higher than the average UK rate of 4.6 per cent.

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in Northern Ireland also fell last month by 300 to 31,200, which represents a decrease of 6,100 people over the year to May.

The latest figures show more men than women stopped claiming jobless benefits over the year, while the area with the highest number of jobless benefits claimants in the North was in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.


According to North's secretary of state, James Brokenshire, the latest set of figures "demonstrate continued stability in the Northern Ireland economy".

“Almost 10,000 new jobs were created in Northern Ireland over the year, meaning more people with the security of a job and a regular pay packet for themselves and their family,” Mr Brokenshire said.

Danske Bank economist Conor Lambe said that while the statistics contained some encouraging figures, they did not tell the full story.

“It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Northern Ireland labour market as the employment rate decreased over the quarter and the year,” he said.

“Economic inactivity also remains very much in the spotlight, particularly as the data indicated that the quarterly rise in the inactivity rate was the biggest since 2009. More people becoming economically inactive suggests that the local labour market continues to face some challenges,” he added.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business