Signs of slowdown in Mid Ulster job figures

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The latest jobs figures for Mid Ulster are showing evidence of a slowdown in the economy.

Unemployment across the district fell at a reduced pace in 2016, compared to 2015.

Despite this longer-term trend, the number of Mid Ulster people claiming unemployment-related benefits dropped by 32 in December.

Data published through the Department for the Economy shows the local jobless total now stands at 1,465, the lowest for any district in Northern Ireland.

Lisburn and Castlereagh District had the next lowest level of claimants at 1,489.

During 2015, the number of people seeking work in Mid Ulster fell by 27.1%, last year that figure had decreased to 22%.

However, Mid Ulster still has the lowest unemployment rate in the North at 1.6%. Derry and Strabane had the highest at 5.3%.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said the figures contain “positive messages”.

The unemployment rate increased slightly in the quarter between last September and October to 5.6%.

The UK rate meanwhile decreased to 4.8%.

In 2016, 5,900 people left the unemployment register, compared to 11,100 in 2015.

The economy minister said: “The figures published today contain positive messages across a range of key labour market indicators. In particular, the reductions in unemployment over the medium term and the further and continued decreases in the number of people on the unemployment register. In addition, employee jobs have continued to increase over the year in NI but estimates show the rate of growth is beginning to slow.”

Minister Hamilton continued: “It is important therefore that local businesses continue to develop through research and development, seeking new markets and promoting inward investment.”