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Low levels of unemployment – yet levels of economic inactivity stay increase

15 August, 2007

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann commenting on news that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen to 3.7% - the lowest rate on record, has said that despite this good news that there are still many areas experiencing much higher rates of unemployment and that the increasing and very high level of economic inactivity remains a fundamental problem.

Ms McCann said:

"Despite the fact that these adjusted figures, and I stress adjusted, show that unemployment is at a record low, the reality is that many areas across the north are still experiencing much higher rates of unemployment.

"In areas such as North and West Belfast, Derry and Strabane there has been no real impact on the very high levels of unemployment and particularly the rates of long term unemployment in these areas that are characterised by high levels of deprivation.

"The fact that the economic inactivity rate of has increase from 26.4% to 26.7% in the last 4 months should be a matter of huge concern because it is a strong indicator of what is really happening with employment.

"This high level of economic inactivity hides the true cost of poverty that exists not just in specific geographical areas but also within vulnerable groups such as senior citizens, young people, the long term unemployed and lone parent families.

"The reality is that the manufacturing sector continues to be in freefall and the majority of new jobs are part-time jobs characterised by poor employment security and low income, particularly within the service sector where the majority of new jobs are coming on stream." ENDS

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