A bleak outlook awaits a generation of graduates and newly qualified professionals who believed that a degree would be a passport to a prosperous future, but have ended up on Dungannon’s dole queue.
Official figures released at the Northern Ireland Assembly show that there are currently 255 teachers and a further 361 qualified professionals desperately seeking work in the Dungannon area.
With no hope of the graduate jobs gap shrinking, many young people faced with student debt are being forced to emigrate in their search for well-paid work.
The most sought after occupations by the local unemployed were in the fields of retail sales and construction.
In fact, of the 8000 people registered as unemployed in the South Tyrone area nearly 50% are connected with these industries.
The picture is just as bleak for other trades in the Dungannon area with 818 food process operatives looking for work, 676 clerical workers, 355 agricultural workers, 324 cleaners, 280 childcare workers, and 177 bar staff.
Sinn Fein MLA Bronwyn McGahan, who obtained the figures, has called for more investment in the area.
“The construction industry has been particularly hard hit during the recession and the retail sector has seen the knock on effect from this”, she said.
“Sinn Féin are on record as stating we cannot cut our way out of recession and that we need to stimulate the economy by investing in capital projects like house building.
“Not only will this provide much needed housing but it will create employment in the construction industry which will see a knock on effect into the retail and night time economy.
“With proper investment in these two areas alone it would be possible to half the unemployment rate in the South Tyrone area so I will continue to press for capital investment in this constituency from central government.”
Youth unemployment has risen faster in Northern Ireland than in any other UK region, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.In the province 23% of people aged 18-24 are unemployed.