1,843 are out of work in Ballymena borough

THE number of people registering as out of work in Ballymena saw a slight decrease last month, down 18.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Enterprise, the claimant count in the borough now stands at 1843, compared to 1861 (March).

Wards within the borough registering the most claimant counts for unemployment in April were Ballee 138 (141 in March), Dunclug 130 (134 in March0 and Harryville 114 (110 the previous month.

The area with the lowest claimant count in February was Ballyloughan (29).

Ballykeel saw the biggest decrease from 123 in March to 111 in April.

Province-wide, the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits fell by 600 since January, the first time there has been a fall in three consecutive months since 2007.

In April there was another decrease of 200 on the previous month, meaning there are now 64,300 claimants.

However, over the year there was an increase in the number claiming over the year by 3.4%, in contrast to the UK which saw a decrease of 4.3%.

The Northern Ireland claimant count remains the second highest in the UK. The region has had the highest or second highest number on benefits for over three years.

Commenting on the figures, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “It is encouraging that the claimant count has now decreased for three consecutive months for the first time since August 2007.

“This fall of 600 in the claimant count over the last three months is very welcome. While it is too early to read too much into this, as there is still considerable uncertainty in the global economy, is important that we build on these positive signs”.