Jobless blow for Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster

ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster got another kick in the teeth today as the province’s jobless numbers soared again.

In October, another 600 people joined the ever growing job queues, with 64,100 people out of work.

And it has to take into account the 1,000 or so jobs to go at F G Wilson Engineering or the 190 at Patton Construction.

Figures just published reveal that the monthly claimant count for NI was the second highest among the 12 UK regions, at 7% compared to the average of 4.8%, according to the latest figures.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the figures reflect the difficult economic climate, but hopes the £200m economy and jobs initiative announced by the Executive last week will help provide support for local people and businesses.

“Rebalancing the economy towards more productive jobs remains a key priority for my Department and Invest Northern Ireland,” said the DUP minister.

“The recently announced Economy and Jobs initiative is also important in that it provides further support to hard pressed businesses to access the specialist expertise needed to grow output. T

“The £200m injection comprises a range of carefully targeted, practical measures that will help to stimulate growth and greater participation in the labour market.

“My aim is to provide the support needed for businesses to navigate their way through the current difficult economic conditions.”

Ms Foster is currently in China alongside the First and deputy First Ministers, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, on a mission to promote tourism and support NI companies who are seeking to win business in the country.

She continued: “A number of our local companies are already developing their business in China, but there is huge potential for many more to do so in this dynamic marketplace.

“Invest Northern Ireland is currently assisting many firms across a range of sectors to succeed in China and this week 35 local companies are working to show the Chinese market what they are capable of.

“I will continue to press ahead with existing Invest Northern Ireland programmes to support export-led growth.”

As yet the trade mission has not yielded any jobs, apart from a £1 million investment.

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