1,340 out of work in Ballymena area

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The number of people registering as out of work in Ballymena saw a slight decrease in November, down by 58 claimants, latest statistics show.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Enterprise, the claimant count in the borough now stands at 1,340, compared to 1,398 in October.

Wards within the borough registering the most claimant counts for unemployment in November were Ballee with 108 claimants (99 in October), Dunclug with 106 claimants (102 in October) and Castle Demesne with 100 (118 claimants in October).

The wards with the lowest claimant count last month were Ballyloughan and Galgorm, each with 19 claimants.

Province-wide, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits has dropped by 700 over the past month, according to the new figures.

There were 51,200 claimants in November, the Department of Enterprise said, making it the 23rd consecutive month when the total has fallen.

Announcing the figures on Wednesday, DETI minister Arlene Foster said there has now been a decrease of 8,000 in the claimant count over the past year.

However, the NI claimant rate for the month remained the highest of the 12 UK regions at 5.8%.

Ms Foster said: “The figures published today provide positive signs across a number of key labour market indicators. Both the unemployment rate and the number of unemployment benefit claimants have decreased over the quarter and the year.

“In addition, the number of employee jobs continues to increase, representing the 10th consecutive quarterly increase in this measure.”