Falling jobless rate ‘augurs well for Larne’

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Continuous reduction in the jobless rate is an encouraging sign for the local economy, Larne Development Forum believes.

The local rate of 4.3 per cent unemployed is significantly lower than the 5.45 per cent Northern Ireland average, with the promise of hundreds more jobs to come, said the forum’s chairman, Cllr Martin Wilson.

“Larne Development Forum is pleased to note the continuing downward trend in the number of local people who are claiming benefit,” he added.

“We are not complacent and realise that there is still much to do, however it is important to note that Larne has a very healthy percentage of its workforce who are engaged in manufacturing and are working in the private sector.

“This augurs well for the future and with the recent announcement in the early summer of over 400 jobs in Terumo locally, the outlook is very encouraging for the local economy,” said Cllr Wilson.

The SDLP representative added: “Larne Development Forum continue to support business development programmes and local initiatives to reduce unemployment and to help businesses grow.”

Government statistics show that Larne’s 22 per cent of employees engaged in manufacturing is well above the provincial average and in keeping with the desired trend for a sustainable economy which is increasingly private sector-led, with less reliance on the public sector.

The jobless rate in the borough took a serious hit with hundreds of Caterpillar workers being laid off in 2012. It peaked around 1,000 people last December and now totals 888 Jobseekers claimants.