Regional unemployment rate leaps ahead of that of the UK as a whole for first time in a year
Fears of Brexit risks and failure to bring forward manufacturing strategy are factors in economic decline
October 16th: Davy Thompson, Regional Coordinating Officer for Unite, responded to the release of figures confirming that the unemployment rate in Northern Ireland had increased substantially and was now higher than the UK average.
“Today’s unemployment figures are very concerning for anyone with ambition for jobs and skills in our economy. The joblessness rate has increased sharply reflecting the broader weakening of the Northern Ireland economy which is facing a significant reduction in productive investment.
“For the first time in a year, our unemployment rate is now above that of the rest of the UK. Combined with high numbers who have fallen outside the active labour force, the proportion employed in Northern Ireland continues to be the lowest by some way in Britain and Ireland.
“The absence of a Northern Ireland Executive is a major part of the problem. Our economy has been left rudderless but the truth is that even when we had Ministers in place, they voted down proposals led by trade unions and industry for a manufacturing strategy for the region.
“The consequences of that political decision have left Northern Ireland’s productive economy without any means for effective intervention in the face of the rising uncertainties and risks of the Brexit process. Action is needed by government now to mitigate the impact of dislocation which appears increasingly unavoidable over the next year”, Mr Thompson said.