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NI reacts to new-look pound coin

People in Northern Ireland have been reacting to the introduction of the new-look pound coin.

The Royal Mint has said its 12-sided shape will make it harder to counterfeit, as well as other features including a hologram.

Despite an age of plastic and contactless payment, 1.5 billion of the new pounds will be entering circulation.

But don't worry, the old round design will still keep its value until October.


1,000 fewer claiming unemployment benefits

There are 1,000 fewer people claiming unemployment-related benefits in Northern Ireland, according to the latest figures.

The latest Labour Market Statistics show that the number of claimants now stands at 31,600 (3.5% of the workforce), a decrease of 1,000 from the previous month.

The unemployment rate of 5.3% had decreased marginally in January and remains above the UK average of 4.8%, below the European Union (8.3%) rate and Republic of Ireland (7.2%).

The Department for Economy says the latest figures show there has been little change in unemployment rates since the EU referendum.

Annual figures continue to reflect a gradual decline in the unemployment rate over recent years from 7.5% in 2013, 6.4% in 2014, 6.1% in 2015 and 5.8% in 2016.

There was a marginal increase in the employment rate, but 210 redundancies made in January.

Over the last year to 31 January 2017, there has been an 86% increase in the number of confirmed redundancies: 3,599 compared to 1,932 in the previous year.

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