1. ITV Report

Claimant count down for third consecutive month

The minister in charge of the economy welcomed the latest figures. Photo: UTV

The claimant count in Northern Ireland has fallen by 600 over the past month, according to the latest figures.

June was the third consecutive month which saw a drop in the figure, after it went up in each of the previous two months.

It now stands at 36,700.

Our recovery has been characterised by strong employment growth and I am encouraged the latest figures indicate that this remains the case.

– Simon Hamilton

The Labour Force Survey showed the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9% in the three months between March and May, while the UK’s rate is 4.9%.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has welcomed the figures.

“Our unemployment rate continues on a downward trend along with a reduction in the number of people in Northern Ireland claiming unemployment-related benefits, a reduction of over 7,000 people in the year to June 2016," he said.

Generating more and better jobs is one of my top priorities and it is welcome that the local employment rate has now increased for the fourth consecutive quarter.

– Simon Hamilton

“In addition the Northern Ireland unemployment rate continues to compare favourably to the April 2016 rate for the European Union - which is at 8.7% - and Republic of Ireland - at 8.4%.

“Continuing to grow our private sector and making it the engine of our economy is a key goal we must focus on to turn Northern Ireland into a globally competitive economy.”