Figures show slight drop 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 fell slightly last month, according to the latest government figures.

The December Labour Market Report reveals that the local jobless total stood at 1,568 during November - 1,055 men and 513 women - a decrease of one per cent (16 people) from the previous month.

The area’s claimant count (1.8 per cent of the working age population) is the second lowest among the 11 council areas.

According to the NI Statistics and Research Agency, the local jobless total has dropped by 11.1 per cent (196 people) over the past year.

The number of people out of work and claiming benefits across Northern Ireland fell by 500 during November to 33,600.

Commenting on the figures, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA said: “The Northern Ireland unemployment rate (5.7 per cent) continues to compare very favourably to the September 2016 rate for the European Union (8.5 per cent) and for the Republic of Ireland (7.9 per cent).

“It is important that local businesses continue to develop opportunities through research and development, seeking new markets and promoting inward investment. I would encourage businesses to actively seek out these opportunities and to take advantage of Invest NI’s continued support for local businesses and the local economy.”