Latest statistics show 1,398 local people out of work

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The number of people registering as out of work in Ballymena saw a slight decrease in October, down by 61 claimants.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Enterprise, the claimant count in the borough now stands at 1,398, compared to 1459 in September.

Wards within the borough registering the most claimant counts for unemployment in October were Castle Demesne with 118 claimants (109 in September), Ballykeel with 104 (111 in September) and Harryville with 103 (94 the previous month).

The ward with the lowest claimant count last month was Galgorm with 19, down eight from September.

Province-wide, a total of 52,100 people were claiming unemployment benefits in October according to the statistics released by DETI, which is 100 fewer than the previous month’s figure.

There has been a fall of 8,700 in the unemployment claimant figures over the last 12 months and the claimant count has now fallen for 22 months in a row.

The Northern Ireland unemployment rate for October stands at 6.0% - it has decreased 0.6% over the quarter.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “The decrease in the unemployment rate, alongside the continued decrease in the Northern Ireland claimant count is encouraging. The number of claimants has fallen in each of the last 22 months, which is the most sustained decrease since June 1995.

“The rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland (6.0%) is the same as that for the UK (6.0%) and is the lowest since late 2009,” she said.