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Northern Ireland unemployment falls to 3.8 percent, lowest rate in United Kingdom

Northern Ireland unemployment falls to 3.8 percent, lowest rate in United Kingdom

Unemployment in Northern Ireland has fallen to 3.8 percent, making it the best-performing region in the United Kingdom following decades of bloodshed fueled by heavy joblessness, a report published Wednesday found.
The drop from last year's rate of 4.7 percent reflects continued economic optimism and international investment following the past decade of successful peacemaking in Northern Ireland. It also comes despite unprecedented levels of immigration to Northern Ireland from Eastern Europe, Asia and Brazil.
Northern Ireland's unemployment rate is now better than Britain's 5.4 percent, the Republic of Ireland's 4.8 percent, and the European Union's 6.7 percent.
The British government also published a report Wednesday on unemployment in the rest of the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, confirming that joblessness there has fallen to 5.4 percent from 5.6 percent a year ago.
It said the best-performing region behind Northern Ireland was southwest England, which recorded 4.1 percent unemployment, up 0.2 points from a year ago, while England's West Midlands was worst at 6.5 percent, up 0.4 points. London's unemployment rate fell 1.7 points _ the biggest regional drop over the past year _ to 6.2 percent.
The economic situation in Northern Ireland is light years removed from the 1960s, when an all-Protestant government resisted a Catholic civil rights movement demanding equality in jobs, votes and housing _ and spawned three decades of violence that claimed 3,700 lives.
The outlawed Irish Republican Army rose from a Catholic minority that was largely excluded from Protestant-dominated industries of the day. Rival paramilitary groups responsible for most of the killing were rooted in communities suffering from the highest rates of unemployment.
Wednesday's figures mean that just 30,000 people in Northern Ireland, a country of more than 1.7 million, are registered as unemployed, a drop of 7,000 over the year _ and a fraction of the problem before Northern Ireland's paramilitary cease-fires of the mid-1990s.
However, the report noted, the percentage of working-age people who are either unable or unwilling to seek paid employment remains higher in Northern Ireland versus than all other United Kingdom regions: 27.3 percent versus the U.K. average of 21.2 percent. That reflects, in part, an exceptionally high number of people on state benefits for physical disabilities.
Economists agree that Northern Ireland's economy remains too dependent on more than 30,000 civil service jobs funded by British taxpayers. The civil service _ Northern Ireland's biggest employer _ has been bloated further by the peace process, which created a new Catholic-Protestant government that has doubled the number of government departments since 1998.
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On the Net:
http://www.detini.gov.uk/cgi-bin/downdoc?id3283
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/lmsuk1107.pdf


Updated : 2021-10-17 02:58 GMT+08:00