Drop in unemployment welcome but action needed on rural employment - Flanagan
Commenting on this week's Labour Force Survey (LFS) figures Sinn Féin Enterprise and Investment Spokesperson, Phil Flanagan MLA said:
"The latest drop in unemployment needs to be welcomed but more needs to be done to create employment in general but particularly in rural communities.
"We need increased support and investment in SMEs and other indigenous businesses which are the real creators of jobs and growth in our economy.
"Many of our communities continue to suffer from high unemployment and emigration, which is devastating many rural communities.
"I would urge the ministers for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and Education and Learning Jonathan Bell and Stephen Farry to draw up a joint strategy to stop the brain drain and assist SMEs particularly those wishing to break into or expand their export capabilities.
"It's time to put a greater focus on areas such as Research and Development opportunities for graduates and on apprenticeships to address the massive skills shortages in the engineering and construction sectors.“I believe a cross-departmental strategy can make a real difference to jobless figures by assisting those sectors of the economy that can have a direct benefit on local economies – the backbone of our economy - the SMEs."