West again tops jobless table in City and is second in North

Ten years after ceasefire, local unemployed are still seeking that elusive peace dividend

New labour market figures for the past month show that West Belfast still has a higher claimant count at the Social Security Agency than any other part of the city.

And the West Belfast figures are the second highest claimant rate in the North, with the Foyle parliamentary constituency coming in as the only other part of the North with higher figures than West Belfast. Claimant count figures are derived from records held at the Social Security Agency.

The term ‘claimants’ is used to include those who claim Josbseekers Allowance and national insurance credits. The figures include severely disabled claimants but exclude students seeking vacation work and the temporarily stopped.

Figures show that West Belfast has the most number of claimants in the city and East Belfast has the least number of claimants. In September there were a total of 3,246 claimants in West Belfast, which is 6.4 per cent of those of working age in the total population. 2,672 of the claimants were males and 574 were females.

In North Belfast there were 2,117 claimants in September, 4.3 per cent of those of working age; South Belfast had 1,633 claimants, 2.6 per cent of the working age population; and East Belfast had the least number of those getting Jobseekers with 1,354 claimants, which is 2.9 per cent of those of working age.

Local SDLP Councillor Margaret Walsh said that the figures are worrying.
“We need to look at getting people into properly paid employment, a decent job for a decent wage,” said Councillor Walsh. “This problem has to be looked at in a long-term rather than in a short-term context,” she added.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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