Dramatic fall in unemployment

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Unemployment has fallen dramatically in the Banbridge area over the past year, according to the latest figures, released last week.

Statistics released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency in their January Labour Market Report, show that the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area has seen a decrease of over 25% in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits.

The report revealed that a total of 3,330 people in the council area are claiming unemployment benefit, which represents 2.6% of the working age population.

Overall there are 1,190 fewer people unemployed in the area when compared to the same time last year, a fall of 26.3%.

This is the third largest reduction across Northern Ireland, with just Newry, Mourne and Down, and Mid Ulster having slightly larger reductions of 27.1% and 28.5% respectively.

In Northern Ireland as a whole there has also been a downward trend in unemployment, with 38,246 people claiming benefits, a fall of 22% since last year.

There are now 10,818 fewer people unemployed in Northern Ireland when compared to January 2015.

Banbridge Councillor Glenn Barr has welcomed the news and said that work would continue to attract investment and employment to the area,

“This is really good news for the area,” said Mr Barr.

“It means there are more people with more disposable income and that is a boost for local businesses.

“Attracting trade, investment and jobs to the area is part of the economic drive within the council and it is also a priority for Stormont as well.

“However, whilst this is a significant drop, we need to keep working on it.

“The redevelopment of the town centre will be another boost to the area.

“An attractive town brings more people and more business, which will in turn bring more jobs. It can only be a boost for Banbridge,”