North west still dole blackspot

The north west remains the north’s unemployment blackspot despite a marginal fall in the number of people claiming the dole in Derry, Limavady and Strabane.

New figures released this week by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment reveal a total of 5494 people are currently signing on in Derry - a drop of 8 on the previous month.

Northern Bank chief economist Angela McGowan says things are likely to get worse before they improve.

“With hundreds of university students and further education graduates about to pile into the labour market in just over two months, we clearly require the introduction of further active labour market policies to stem any outward flow of local talent,”

The current level of unemployment in Derry (7.7% of the workforce) is double that of Castlereagh and North Down and significantly higher than Ards, Ballymena, Banbridge, Lisburn and Newtownabbey.

More than 11% of men of working age and over 4% of women are out of work in the city - both rates are higher than anywhere else in the north.

In Strabane the number of people claiming the dole fell by 39. A total of 1808 people in the town are claiming the dole while in Limavady a total of 1556 people are signing on.

Strabane’s unemployment rate ( 7.1%) is second to only Derry, while Limavady and Belfast (7%) round off the north’s dole hotspots.