Northern Ireland

Unemployment rate in Northern Ireland 'lowest in a decade'

Construction workers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The economic inactivity rate in Northern Ireland is persistently above the UK average which now stands at 21.2%

The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland is now below the UK rate and has reached its lowest level in a decade.

In the period from September to November 2017 it was 3.8%.

This is down by 0.9 percentage points from the previous quarter and by 1.8 percentage points over the year.

However, much of the decrease reflects an increase in people becoming "economically inactive".

Economic inactivity refers to people of working age who are neither in work or looking for a job.

The economic inactivity rate (28.2%) increased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points and increased by 1.7 percentage points over the year.

This is the highest rate recorded since 2010.

Claimant count

The economic inactivity rate in Northern Ireland is persistently above the UK average which now stands at 21.2%.

Nisra, the official statistics agency said: "The inactivity rate has been increasing since the record low in 2016.

"The current inactivity rate is the highest rate recorded since 2010, but remains significantly below peak rates recorded in mid-2009."

Of the economically inactive, 81% did not want a job while 19% did.

Among those who did not want to work, 30% were long-term sick or disabled, 27% were students, 24% were looking after the family and home, 10% were retired and 8% cited another reason.

On the second measure of unemployment, the claimant count, there was a slight increase in December.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits rose by 100 to 29,200 in December 2017, the first monthly increase since January 2013.

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