THE dole queues in Northern Ireland are continuing to grow.
For the three month period December 2012 – February 2013, the unemployment rate was estimated to be 8.4%.
This was an increase of 0.4 percentage points over the quarter and by 1.5 percentage points over the year.
The rate remains above the UK average of 7.9%, which also experienced an increase over the quarter. At 0.2 percentage points, this was a slighter smaller increase compared to that of NI.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s jobless figure was 10.8% and the Republic of Ireland’s 14.7% in January 2013.
NI has had the highest or second highest unemployment rate among the twelve UK regions for 36 consecutive months.
The region’s claimant count figure was 64,800 for March. The annual increase in NI claimants, which stood at 5.0%, was the highest among the UK regions.
A decrease of 4.8% was experienced by the UK overall.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “While unemployment is up over the quarter, it is still broadly the same as that reported last month.
“We can’t hope to escape the difficulties in the global economy, but we can continue to lay the foundations of a stronger local economy to take advantage of recovery when it comes.
“Our aim must be to build a business environment that is attractive to both local and inward investors.”