Northern Ireland unemployment rate hits record low

By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

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The jobs section of a newspaperImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Northern Ireland's economic inactivity rate is also continuing to show improvement

The unemployment rate in Northern Ireland hit a record low of just 2.5% in the three months between July and September.

The employment rate, the percentage of working age adults in employment, hit a record high of 72.3%.

However, this is still the second lowest employment rate among the 12 UK regions.

During the last recession the Northern Ireland employment rate fell as low as 64%.

Nisra, the official statistics agency, said the strong performance of the Northern Ireland labour market was similar to the wider UK picture.

"These trends are similar to those in the UK, where unemployment is at a joint record low [3.8%], employment is at one of its highest points [76.0%] and economic inactivity is at one of the lowest rates on record [20.8%]," said Nisra.

Northern Ireland continues to have a significantly higher rate of economic inactivity compared to the UK average.

Economic inactivity is a measurement of those people who are not in work and not looking for work - that includes students, retired people and sick or disabled people.

The rate in Northern Ireland is 25.8% which equates to just over 300,000 people.

Of that group, about 57,000 say they would like to work.

The UK as a whole has experienced what some have called a "jobs miracle" in the recovery from the financial crisis.

That refers to a very strong labour market despite relatively weak economic growth.

Northern Ireland has also seen that pattern with economic output still below its pre-recession level despite record levels of unemployment.