Northern Ireland

NI unemployment claimants fell by 800 in January

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Image caption The rate of unemployment in NI remains higher than the UK unemployment rate

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Northern Ireland fell by 800 in January to 37,800.

The claimant count has now fallen by more than 10,000 in the last 12 months.

The other measure of unemployment, the Labour Force Survey, fell by 0.1 percentage points to 5.8% from October to December 2015.

That is higher than the UK unemployment rate which stands at 5.1%.

The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work, the employment rate, increased over the quarter and over the year to 68.8%.

That is just 0.1 percentage point below the peak employment rate of 68.9% in April - June 2007.

However it is still below the UK average rate of 74.1% and the lowest of the twelve UK regions.

Economic inactivity

The economic inactivity rate, which refers to percentage of working age adults who are neither in work or looking for a job, was down slightly over the quarter and over the year.

The number of economically inactive people was estimated at 313,000, a rate of 26.8%.

The Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said the reduction in the unemployment claimant count was welcome particularly against a backdrop of continuing global uncertainty and reduced demand worldwide.

The figures suggest that Derry and Strabane remains the council area with the highest unemployment.

The percentage of working age claimants is 6.4% which compares to just 2.2% in Lisburn and Castlereagh.

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