Ballymena jobless rate shows slight increase

DUP Minister for the Economy Simon Hamilton.  Picture: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.
DUP Minister for the Economy Simon Hamilton. Picture: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

The number of people registering as out of work in Ballymena has saw a slight increase in the past month with an increase of 41 claimants.

According to the latest Economic and Labour Market Statistics from the Department for the Economy, the local claimant count now stands at 1,012 (June) compared to 971 in May.

Wards registering the most claimants for unemployment in June were Dunclug with 84 (82 in May), Ballee with 73 (75 in May) and Ballykeel with 69 (69 in May).

The ward with the lowest claimant count was Slemish with 12 (11 in May).

Despite the increase in the number registering as out of work in June, figures show that local unemployment remains low compared to 2015.

Back in June 2015, 1,164 were registered as being out of work in the Ballymena area.

And back in January of last year, there were 1,401 people registered as unemployed in the district.

Meanwhile, in the Antrim area, unemployment saw a decrease in June compared to the previous month with the local claimant count now standing at 748 compared to 755 in May.

Wards registering the most claimant counts for unemployment were Springfarm with 70 (69 in May; Crumlin with 69 (84 in May); and Fountain Hill with 54 (54 in May).

The wards with the lowest number of claimants in June were Templepatrick with 18 claimants (15 in May), Parkgate with 19 (21 in May); and Shilvodan with 21 (21 in May).

Across Northern Ireland, figures for June 2016 show that the number of claimants in receipt of unemployment related benefits stood at 36,700, a decrease of 600 over the month.

This represents a fall of 7,200 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA said Northern Ireland’s recovery has been characterised by “strong employment growth” and added: “Our unemployment rate continues on a downward trend along with a reduction in the number of people in Northern Ireland claiming unemployment related benefits, a reduction of over 7,000 people in the year to June 2016.

“ In addition the Northern Ireland unemployment rate continues to compare favourably to the April 2016 rate for the European Union (8.7%) and Republic of Ireland (8.4%).

“Generating more and better jobs is one of my top priorities and it is welcome that the local employment rate has now increased for the fourth consecutive quarter. Continuing to grow our private sector and making it the engine of our economy is a key goal we must focus on to turn Northern Ireland into a globally competitive economy.”