NMD claimant count shows sharp rise in February

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

THE number of claimants in Newry, Mourne and Down increased by 465 during the month of February.

This was the second highest increase recorded in Northern Ireland.

The total number of claimants now stands at 5,685.

Of those claimants, 3,705 were males with 1,980 females.

One year on from the first Covid 19 lockdown, the number of claimants in NMD has increased by 3195.

In the Council area of Newry and Mourne thge February totalk increased by 310 from the previous month, January.

2,155 males and 1,245 females bring thge number of claimants in thge local Council area to 3,405.

Year on year, figures show an increase of 1,970.

The ward of Daisy Hill has the highest number of claimnts in the Councikl area at 170 followed by Clonallan at 160.

The lowest was recorded in the ward of Binnian at 60 claimants.

While the Claimant count rocketed in April and May 2020 in the wake of the first lockdown, it has been gradually coming down ever since.

The increase in February is the first monthly increase in nine months.

The Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA) put the increase down to the number of people losing their jobs in February or having their hours cut, reducing their earnings and putting them in the territory of needing benefit support.

It also said that the count may now include some people who were previously not eligible for universal credit due to partner earnings, but were now eligible as a result of work allowance increases.

February’s labour market report showed 10,650 redundancies proposed in the previous 12 months, with 5,770 redundancies confirmed. That measure is restricted to cases where employers cut their workforce by at least 20.

With tens of thousands of people in the north still on the UK Government’s furlough scheme, the official unemployment rate remains relatively low at 3.7 per cent, below the UK rate of 5 per cent.

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