1. ITV Report

Northern Ireland employment rate hits record high

The employment rate has risen to the highest on record at 71.7%

The number of people employed in Northern Ireland is the highest on record, new statistics have revealed.

Figures released by from the Department for the Economy show the rate of employment now sits at 71.7%.

In the most recent quarter, between March and May this year, the rate rose by 1.7 percentage points.

Percentage of people employed in Northern Ireland

However, despite the rise, the number of people in work here falls below the UK rate.

Economic inactivity, which takes into account those who aren't in work or looking for work such as students and sick or disabled people, fell to just under 26% (25.9%).

“We can take encouragement from these figures; our employment rate is at an all-time high, whilst the economic inactivity rate is beginning to decrease," said Roger Pollen from the Federation of Small Businesses NI.

He continued: "However, the economically inactive figure - which includes those not in work nor seeking employment – remains stubbornly high and needs particular focus if we are to help more people back into the workplace.

“These figures should not allow for complacency, several economic indices have indicated signs of a slow-down ahead, including FSB’s most recent Small Business Index, which showed investment intentions at a two-year low.

“It is incumbent on the next Prime Minister to work constructively to end the Brexit stalemate, while our local politicians must strive to restore devolved government as soon as possible.

“A stable political and economic environment is vital if our local SMEs are to continue to drive growth and create jobs in communities.”