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Labour market robust as jobless rate falls to 4.3%

16 May 2018

The NI rate is below the UK unemployment rate (4.2%) for the third consecutive quarter after consistently being above UK rates since the end of 2013. below the UK average of 4.2%, itself the joint lowest figure on record the agency said.

England's jobless rate was also 4.2 per cent, while Wales recorded 4.4 per cent.

Scotland's overall employment rate stood at 74.7 per cent - lower than the UK's at 75.6 per cent. Crucially though it remains the lowest out of all United Kingdom regions.

Unemployment fell by 6,000 in Scotland over the first three months of this year, according to official figures.

NISRA said the North's jobless rate dropped significantly below the average United Kingdom rate of 4.2 per cent over the same period and was below the comparable European Union rate of 7.1 per cent in February and the Republic's 6.1 per cent unemployment rate in March.

"Once more, we continue to outperform the United Kingdom on employment and unemployment rates for young people, with 55.6 per cent of young people in employment in Scotland compared to 54.1 per cent of young people in the United Kingdom".

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "The rise in the employment rate is welcome news and shows that despite the challenging economic conditions facing us as a result of Brexit, our economy and jobs market remains strong".

Although one of the highest rates recorded since 2010 and the highest rate of the United Kingdom regions, the current inactivity rate is significantly below peak rates recorded in mid-2009. "Long-standing challenges related to economic inactivity, job quality and productivity remain", he added. "The latter will not produce higher levels of economic prosperity and can not be compensated by a (flattering) low unemployment rate".

"While it is welcome that economic inactivity has decreased over the quarter, significant action is required to address the issue".

Last month the number of people receiving unemployment benefits was 29,000, representing 3.2 per cent of the workforce and a marginal increase on the February figure.

Labour market robust as jobless rate falls to 4.3%