Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland unemployment figure falls to 36,700

The claimant count has fallen by 26,000 since the most recent peak in February 2013
Image caption Unemployment has been on a downward trend for three years

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level since 2008.

In June it fell by 600 to 36,700 - the first time it has been below 37,000 since November 2008.

Unemployment has been on a downward trend for three years, though the rate of improvement has been slowing.

The total number of claimants has fallen by 28,000 since the most recent peak in February 2013.

The other measurement of unemployment, measured by the Labour Force Survey, showed a rate of 5.9% in the quarter between March and May.

No post-referendum figures

That was a fall of 0.5 percentage points compared to the previous quarter, though it is not considered to be a statistically significant change.

For the UK as whole the unemployment rate fell to 4.9%, the lowest since July 2005.

The June employment data does not cover the post-EU referendum period.

Commenting on the figures Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: "Our recovery has been characterised by strong employment growth and I am encouraged the latest figures indicate that this remains the case.

"Generating more and better jobs is one of my top priorities and it is welcome that the local employment rate has now increased for the fourth consecutive quarter."

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