New Derry and Strabane super council top of jobless pile

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The new Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) area has the worst unemployment figures out of all 11 new super councils in the North of Ireland.

In the first Labour Market Survey to be issued since the new super councils came into practice on April 1, figures from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) show DCSDC to be top of the jobless pile in the North with 7.1 per cent of people of working age claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

The figures, which were released today, revealed that between March and April the number of people of claiming JSA in Derry and Strabane decreased by 185 (2.7 per cent).

In April 6,770 people of working age (16 to 64) in Derry and Strabane claimed JSA and of that number 9.9 per cent were male and 4.3 per cent were female.

The super council area with the second worst unemployment figures after Derry is Belfast with 5.1 per cent.

The new super council area which covers Limavady, Causeway Coast and Glens, has the third worst unemployment figures in the North with 3.7 per cent of people of working age claiming JSA.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood.

Out of the 18 parliamentary constituencies in the North, Foyle has the highest level of unemployment.

The average unemployment rate throughout the North is 3.8 per cent however, Foyle, which takes in Derry city, is top of the pile with 7.7 per cent.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ after the figures had been published, SDLP MLA for Foyle, Colum Eastwood, said it was the responsibility of the new DETI Minister, Jonathan Bell, to make sure the high level of unemployment in Derry is addressed immediately.

“Derry is not experiencing anywhere near the decrease in JSA claimants seen elsewhere in the North.

“I call on the new Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to ensure that job creation in Derry is top of his priority list. “It is vital that Mr Bell and his colleagues in the Executive commit to delivering for our city. They must maximise efforts to rebalance the North’s economy through the development of a thriving regional capital in the North West.”

Mr. Eastwood: “The fact remains that Derry is not getting its fair share of inward investment. It is clear that much more must be done not only by Invest NI in the promotion of our city and its willing workforce but also by the Executive in terms of investment in skills and infrastructure. Clear commitments must be laid out and funded by the Executive to expand our university, progress the long awaited upgrades of the A6 and A5 routes and fast track the development of an adequate rail link with Belfast.”