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19 March 2014

Northern Ireland employment growth - “particularly strong during 2013”

Northern Ireland’s unemployment total fell by 700 in February, the 13th consecutive monthly decline, according to the latest figures, published today.

That takes claimant count unemployment to 57,800, or 6.4%, but still leaves Northern Ireland with the highest relative unemployment amongst the 12 UK regions.

Commenting on today’s figures, Dr Esmond Birnie, PwC’s chief economist in Northern Ireland said it was good news coming just an hour before the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget Statement:

“Unemployment is falling and the number of people in work is also growing.

“Total employment increased by 12,00 in the year to Dec 2013 – that’s  growth of around 1.8% and is particularly strong and close to the rate of growth seen in the decade to the mid-2000s.

“We saw particularly welcome employment growth in manufacturing, where production output also grew by around 5.5% in the 12 months to December.

“The services sector also saw year-on-year growth of around 4% in the last quarter of 2013.

“Collectively the employment and output data strongly supports our belief that recovery is under way and that further growth can be expected during 2014, although the speed of recovery in Northern Ireland lags the other UK regions.”

Ends.