Northern Ireland unemployment rate hits record low

Scotland unemployment levels

While the United Kingdom unemployment rate hit a 43-year low of 4.2 per cent, Scotland's rate was marginally higher at 4.3 per cent.

NORTHERN IRELAND has recorded its lowest unemployment levels ever.

The rise in the Northern Ireland rate comes as the United Kingdom recorded the highest level of employment since records began of 75.6 per cent.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "The rise in the employment rate is welcome news and shows that despite the challenging economic conditions facing us as a result of Brexit, our economy and jobs market remains strong".

The latest figures follow news that the country's productivity, measured by output per hour worked, fell by 1.9 per cent in real terms a year ago.

Over the last 10 years the North's economic inactivity rate has remained consistently higher than the UK. It is the lowest since records began in 1995 and remains below the United Kingdom average (4.2 per cent).

Overall, the employment rate is now 69.7%.

Although one of the highest rates recorded since 2010 and the highest rate of the United Kingdom regions, the current inactivity rate is significantly below peak rates recorded in mid-2009.

Ulster Bank chief economist, Richard Ramsey said the positive headlines present a "superficially positive " picture of the labour market and concealed key weaknesses.

"The improvements in the local labour market are similar to that of the United Kingdom labour market, which is reporting the highest employment rate and lowest unemployment rates on record", the agency added.

In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, the unemployment rate in Northern Ireland peaked at 8.2%.

"It is vital that people who can work have a pathway back to employment, so businesses can access the skills they need, and the prosperity and wellbeing of our citizens can increase".

But the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) also said that more than 300 people were made redundant in April - the highest number in 18 months.



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