Northern Ireland

Number of people claiming unemployment benefit in NI falls

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Image caption The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland is slightly higher than the UK average

There has been a monthly fall in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Northern Ireland.

April's figures show a jobless total of 64,300, that is down by 200 on March.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now stands at 8.1%, slightly higher than the UK average, but much lower than the Irish Republic.

The Economy Minister Arlene Foster said the fall in the number of jobless was a positive sign, despite the continued uncertainty in the global economy.

Around 60% of jobless people in Northern Ireland have been out of work for a year or longer.

There are also more people aged between 18 and 24 claiming benefit than a year ago.

The figures come off the back of several jobs announcements, including US insurance company Allstate pledging to create 650 jobs in Belfast, Londonderry and Strabane over the next three years.

The economy minister Arlene Foster said the fall in the number of jobless was a positive sign, despite the continued uncertainty in the global economy.

"My aim is to ensure the Northern Ireland Executive supports a business environment that is attractive to inward investors and encourages locally owned companies to grow," Ms Foster said.

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