1,164 locals now unemployed

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The number of people registering as out of work in Ballymena saw another slight decrease last month, down just nine claimants.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Enterprise, the local claimant count now stands at 1,164 (June), compared to 1,173 in May.

Wards within the Ballymena area registering the most claimants for unemployment in June were Ballee with 92 (94 in May), Dunclug with 89 (87 in May) and Ballykeel with 88 claimants (87).

The lowest claimant count last month was to be found in both Slemish and Ballyloughan with 14 each, compared to 17 and 14 claimants, respectively, the previous month.

Province-wide the number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased last month for the first time in over two years. It rose by 200 in June to stand at 44,000 in total, according to the latest figures. But despite the increase, there has been a fall of 10,400 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said: “Although unemployment measures show an increase over the most recent period, the levels and rates remain below those recorded a year ago. The latest figures highlight the continued challenges faced by the Northern Ireland labour market.”