East Antrim jobless rate down 23 pc over past year

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East Antrim’s jobless total has dropped by almost one quarter in the past 12 months, new figures have revealed.

According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, there was a total of 1,818 claimants locally last month; 1,275 male and 543 female.

This represents a decrease of 23 per cent since February 2014, well above the Northern Ireland average which stands at -19.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, figures have also been provided for the new super council areas of Mid and East Antrim (2,782) and Antrim and Newtownabbey (2,591). Mid and East Antrim fell by 21.5 per cent over the year, while Antrim and Newtownabbey dropped by 21.2 per cent.

Commenting on the latest figures, East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross: “It is encouraging that the number of people claiming for unemployment related welfare has dropped by 1700 over the past month, meaning that there has been a fall of some 11,400 over the past year. This represents the 26th consecutive month that these figures have improved. The number of employee jobs has also grown with an increase of 1,280 over the past quarter, representing the eleventh consecutive quarterly increase.

“To keep us on the right trajectory it is essential that welfare reform now happens as agreed at the Stormont House Agreement, or we risk losing the opportunity to significantly grow the private sector and see the creations of thousands of jobs for people in Northern Ireland as a result of lowering our rate of Corporation Tax.

“We should be working together to ensure that Invest NI can continue their good record of attracting investment to the Province and the NI Executive can continue to allow people to get off welfare and into work.”