Unemployment slightly down in Ballymena

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The number of people registering as out of work in Ballymena saw a slight decrease in the past month, down 40 claimants.

According to the latest official government published figures for April. the local claimant count now stands at 1,021, compared to 1,061 in March.

Wards registering the most claimants for unemployment were Ballee with 81 (down nine from March) and Dunclug, also with 81 claimants (down three from March); Ballykeel with 72 claimants (down three); and Castle Demesne with 72 (up two from March). The ward with the lowest claimant count was Harryville with 65, up one month on month.

A more dramatic rise in the local unemployment statistics is, however, expected for the month of May when some two-thirds of staff at JTI Gallaher are due to leave the Ballymena factory.

Of the 870 people employed at the Lisnafillan plant around two thirds are expected to leave this month with the remainder of the jobs due to finish in May, next year.

Meanwhile, in the Antrim district, unemployment saw a drop on the previous month with the local claimant count now standing at 783 compared to 822 in March.

Wards registering the most claimant counts for unemployment were Crumlin with 84 - 89 in March; Springfarm with 82 (80 in March); and Fountain Hill with 57 (59 in January).

The wards with the lowest number of claimants in April were Templepatrick with 14 claimants (18 in March); Shilovadan with 18 (21 in March); and Parkgate with 19 (19 in March).

Province wide, the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in Northern Ireland has fallen by 600 from March to a total of 37,900 in April.