Mid Ulster sees largest drop in unemployment levels

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Mid Ulster’s economy has enjoyed a healthy start to 2016, with the area seeing the largest drop in unemployment of all the north’s councils.

Latest figures from the Department of Enterprise show the number of people seeking work in Mid Ulster fell by 27.1% in the last year.

In January, there were 1,935 benefit claimants in the council area, representing an unemployment rate of 2.1%.

This compared favourably against the same figure for Derry and Strabane (6.4%) and Fermanagh and Omagh (3.1%).

Commenting on the statistics for the last quarter, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “Today’s figures show that although there are positive signals of growth in the local economy overall, the unemployment rate remains the same as one year ago. It is important therefore local businesses continue to develop through research and development, seeking new markets and promoting inward investment. I would encourage businesses to actively seek out these opportunities and to take advantage of Invest Northern Ireland’s continued support for local businesses.”

A new report by InformDirect, compiled using information from Companies House, shows that in 2015, a total of 488 new businesses were set up in the Mid Ulster District Council area. That was the sixth highest total in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Mid Ulster MLA Ian McCrea has welcomed the new jobs announcement from Lagan Engineering [see page 5].

“Lagan Engineering is a major player in the designing and manufacturing of bespoke products for the sand, quarry, waste and recycling industry,” he said.

The investment by Lagan Engineering with the assistance of £134,250 from Invest NI will be targeted at bringing in more skilled workers and increasing marketing activities... the creation of 16 new jobs is indeed welcomed, especially here in Mid Ulster and Lagan Engineering have wasted no time with 11 of the posts already filled.

“I congratulate Lagan Engineering on their vision and commitment and I wish them continued growth and ever success for the future.”