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Jobless figures see end of year fall

Employment figures published prior to Christmas show a fall of almost 18 per cent of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in Newry and Mourne over a 12 month period. The drop of 17.6 per cent in claims up to November – representing a total of 574 people – was greater than the Northern Irish average of 14.9 per cent and whilst significantly higher than the fall of claims being made in Derry (6.5 per cent) North Down (7.2 per cent) and Belfast (13 per cent) the overall figure was substantially lower than the fall made in claims in Cookstown (24.2 per cent), Banbridge (25.4 per cent) and Dungannon (26.8 per cent). The month leading up to November saw 8- less people claim JSA in Newry and Mourne which constituted a monthly fall of 2.9 per cent. Of the 2,680 claimants in the area an overwhelming number are male (1,868) whilst just over 30 per cent of adults of JSA recipients are women (812). A total of 4.1 per cent of adults of working age in this area claim JSA with the male and female disparity again evident with 5.8 per cent of males of working age claiming compared to a relatively low 2.5 per cent of females. Comparatively 7.9 per cent of adults of working age in Derry, 7 per cent in Strabane and 6 per cent in Belfast claim JSA, whilst on the other side of the scale just 2.6 per cent in Castlereagh, 2.7 per cent in Banbridge and 2.8 per cent in Antrim make a claim. The Northern Ireland average of working age adults making a JSA claim is 4.3 per cent – 6.1 per cent of males and 2.5 per cent of females. The Down County Council area which will merge with Newry and Mourne Council area at the start of April, recorded a total of 1,986 JSA claimants of which 1,423 are men and 563 are women. The percentage of adults of working age claiming JSA was slightly higher in Down than in Newry and Mourne at 4.4 per cent (6.4 per cent male and 2.5 per cent women). Percentage wise there was a substantially smaller drop in claims being made in Down in the year up to November up to 2014 compared to Newry and Mourne  – 177 less claims were made, a fall of 8.2 per cent, and this amounted to less than half of the 17.6 per cent  fall locally. Civil Service statistics also released before Christmas, show that for every 1,000 economically active residents of Newry and Mourne there are 13 Civil Servants living in the district. In contrast however, using the same benchmark there are only 9.4 Civil Servants working in the district. The figures in Down are significantly higher with 35.9 Civil Servants living in the area per 1,000 economically active residents, though this fall significantly to 14.1 per cent who work in the area.


Newry Reporter

31st December 2014