Jobless total is up by 8.7%

FIGURES released last Wednesday show that the unemployment rate in Ballymena has risen in the past month by 8.7%.

That means 125 more people were out of work locally in January than in December, 2010. The current unemployed total stands at 1,562 of which the vast majority - 1,144 - are men.

Broken down into wards, Dunclug had the highest total unemployed in January at 114 claimants (compared with 109 the previous month), next is Glenravel at 101 (88, last December), and third highest is the Moat at 100 (94 in December 2010.

The ward with the least unemployment as of January, 2011, was Ballyloughan on 28 (22 the previous month).

The claimant count statistics for District Council and constituency areas cover the month of January 2011 for District Council areas in association with the Labour Market Report. Responding to the figures, the Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, said that Northern Ireland firms need to look further afield in a bid to survive following the downturn and soaring unemployment figures.

Northern Ireland recorded the largest annual increase in its unemployment rate among the UK regions and is above the UK average at 8%.

In January, province-wide 600 more people were claiming unemployment benefit than in the previous month.Year on year, the jobless total has risen by 3,600 or 6.5%, while over the same period unemployment in the UK as a whole has fallen by almost 10%.

Almost one in four young people aged between 18 and 24 who are looking for a job are now unable to find work.