Northern Ireland

Unemployment in Northern Ireland drops 800 to 39,100, figures show

JobCentre building in west Belfast
Image caption The number of unemployed people in Northern Ireland now sits at 39,100

Unemployment in Northern Ireland continues to fall, but other data on the economy is not so positive.

The number claiming jobless-related benefits in Northern Ireland in November fell by 800 to 31,900.

Northern Ireland's unemployment rate is down slightly (6.1%), but remains above the UK average (5.2%).

However, the production output of Northern Ireland companies has decreased again.

The index of production - which mostly measures the performance of the manufacturing sector - fell by 2.1% in the three months to September.

It is the second consecutive quarter of decline, while the UK as a whole is showing slight growth.

But the Enterprise, Trade and Investment minister Jonathan Bell pointed out there is still improvement compared to a year ago.

"The economic output figures suggest growth over the year and it is important we continue to build on recent progress in the labour market," he said.

Mr Bell welcomed the fall in the unemployment figures.

"At 6.1%, the Northern Ireland unemployment rate continues to compare very favourably to the rates for the European Union (9.3%) and the Republic of Ireland (9.4%)," he added.

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