1,598 out of work in Ballymena borough

Seven Towers roundabout.
Seven Towers roundabout.

The number of people registering as out of work in Ballymena saw a slight increase last month, up 37.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Enterprise, the claimant count in the borough now stands at 1,598, compared to 1,561 in January.

Wards within the borough registering the most claimant counts for unemployment were Dunclug with 129 (compared to 122 in January), Ballee with 124 (115 in January) and Castle Demesne 123 (119).

The area with the lowest claimant count in February was Slemish with 24 (21 the previous month) while Harryville was a non mover with 109 claimants in both January and February.

Province-wide, the economy continues to show signs of improvement, according to the latest range of official data on jobs and production.

The total number claiming unemployment benefit fell by 700 in February - the 13th drop in a row - amd now stands at 57,800.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “It is encouraging that the number of unemployment benefit claimants continues to fall.

“The continuing positive signals of growth in the local economy are encouraging.”

Northern Ireland’s unemployment rate remains unchanged at 7.5%, which is above the UK average.