Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness has said that figures purporting to show a 73% drop in unemployment in Mid-Ulster since 1997 hides the true cost of unemployment.
Mr McGuinness said:
"People in my constituency want to work. They want to see better living standards for themselves and better circumstances for their children.
"The work ethic and ingenuity of people in Mid Ulster has contributed ignificantly to the local economy and created employment.
"However, this is an area that has also suffered many job losses over the past decade as a result of the decline in manufacturing particularly in the textile industry. Unfortunately statistics hide this.
"There has been an increase in the number of people who are classified as economically inactive by the department. Across the north almost 30% of people are classified as economically inactive.
"These are people not in work and who have been taken out of the Œofficial‚ unemployment figures. These people are struggling financially and are at greatest risk from poverty - rural poverty, child poverty and fuel poverty.
"It is vital that we target resources to areas most in need and develop strategies to bring real jobs into the constituency. This must bring in more than low paid and part time jobs. I want quality jobs in Mid Ulster."ENDS