THE unemployment rate in Northern Ireland has fallen again, this time below the UK average.
According to the latest government figures, there were 500 fewer people claiming benefits in the month of July.
Last month, there were 62,400 people claiming unemployment benefit which is a drop of 500 on June.
As a result, the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.5%.
Economy Minister Arlene Foster said the figure reflected what she said was Northern Ireland’s strengthening economic position.
In July, there were 62,400 people claiming unemployment benefit, a drop of 500.
It is the sixth monthly fall in a row and the minister said it was been almost six years since there was this kind of sustained decrease.
“The recent UK Trade and Investment report highlighted Northern Ireland as one of the most successful regions within the UK, for inward investment,” she said.
“Our strategy aims to continue to develop high value-added, quality jobs as well as encouraging investment to further demonstrate that Northern Ireland is a great place to do business.”
Figures released last month revealed that Northern Ireland’s unemployment rate over the last 12 months was increasing.
Although it was down 4,000 on the quarter to 68,000, it was still up 9,000 on the year.
And redundancies have jumped by almost 50 per cent in the past year.
According to the statistics, there were 800,000 people in work in Northern Ireland between March and May this year.
The number of people unemployed stood at 559,000 during the same period.
The figures shows that 66.7 per cent of people aged 16-64 were in work, which is below the UK average of 71.4 per cent.
Between March and May, the number of unemployed people stood at 7.8 per cent, down 0.5 per cent on the quarter but up 0.9 per cent on the year.
There were 218 proposed redundancies notified during the period mid June 2013 to mid July 2013.
This compares to 174 proposed redundancies that were notified in the previous monthly period.
There were 122 confirmed redundancies in the month of June.
Over the latest twelve month period there were a total of 3,168 confirmed redundancies, an increase of 48% from the previous year.
Over the latest twelve month period there were a total of 3,284 proposed redundancies, a decrease of 2% from the previous year (3,360).
Currently there are 1,032 outstanding redundancies (that is, proposed but not confirmed), which is 39% lower than this time last year (1,704).