10,000 signing on in NW

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Almost 10,000 people are signing on the dole in the north west, the latest official unemployment figures reveal.

Derry SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said the figures are “particularly galling given the coverage showing stilted signs of recovery elsewhere.”

Stormont statistics show that in Derry a total of 6273 people claimed unemployment related benefits in August - that’s 8.9% of the city’s working population. In Strabane the total number of people claiming the dole stands at 2063, while in Limavady there are 1546 signing on, bringing the north west jobless total to 9882 - just under 16% of the total. Read more at derryjournal.com

Mr Eastwood said an answer to the north west’s unemployment issue “will not, however, be found through a doctrine of despair.”

“Anyone who has been around the CultureTECH events during the week will have felt and understood the abundance of talent and opportunity which lives amongst us. This talent and opportunity is precisely the fuel which will drive forward the economic fortunes of this region.

“In July, following the Economic Pact agreed by the British Prime Minister and the Executive, I called for Enterprise Zone status to bestowed upon the North West region. Stormont’s leadership have so far failed to respond.

“Doing nothing does not amount to an economic strategy.

“It is beyond time Stormont’s leadership finally responded to the burden of responsibly which these figures rightly place upon them,” she said.

The seasonally adjusted number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in the North stood at 62,200 in August 2013.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the figures “continue to show encouraging signs as this is the seventh consecutive month in which there has been a fall in this measure of unemployment.”