Rise in number of jobless out of work for a year

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A slight reduction in the jobless total in Larne last month masks a worrying increase in the number of long-term unemployed.

The borough’s tally of 4.2 per cent of the working age population claiming unemployment benefit is among the lowest in the Province.

And there are around 300 fewer local claimants than in December last year, when FG Wilson announced hundreds of redundancies. Since then, both Caterpillar and Turemo have revealed positive news on the employment front.

However, statistics show that people who have been out of work for six months or more, locally and elsewhere, are finding it increasingly difficult to find new jobs.

Some 47.2 per cent of Larne borough claimants (47.2 per cent) have been jobless for six months or longer – up by 7.5 per cent on this time last year. And 23.3 per cent have not had work for a year or more - up 7.1 per cent. Larne does hold out more hope than many other areas, with corresponding regional averages at 53.4 and 32 per cent respectively.

Youth unemployment, while reducing slightly, remains a major concern, with 28 per cent of those claiming benefit aged 18-24 years, despite a 3.5 per cent improvement in the past 12 months.

Enterprise agency Ledcom runs local initiatives to help those out of work, including the LEARNER Access and Engagement programme, offering the opportunity to do essential skills courses, with mentoring support, at no cost. There is also the ongoing Exploring Enterprise programme, which encourages jobless people to consider self-employment. For further information, visit http://www.ledcom.org or call 2827 0742.