Figures reveal rise in local jobless total

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The number of people out of work and claiming benefits in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area increased by just over three per cent last month, according to the latest government figures.

The February Labour Market Report reveals that the local jobless total stood at 1,538 during January - 1,074 men and 464 women - a rise of 49 people (3.3%) from the previous month.

The area’s claimant count, which still stands at 1.7 per cent of the working age population, remains the second lowest among the 11 council areas.

According to the NI Statistics and Research Agency, the local jobless total has dropped by 18.5 per cent (350 people) over the past year.

The number of people out of work and claiming benefits across Northern Ireland fell by 1,000 during January to 31,600.

The latest NI unemployment rate (5.3 per cent) was above the UK average of 4.8 per cent, however it was below the European Union (8.3 per cent) rate for October 2016 and Republic of Ireland (7.2 per cent) rate for December 2016.