OVER 45 per cent of unemployed benefit claimants in Cookstown have been out of work for six months or more, according to figures just released.
Magherafelt fared slightly better in the survey with just over 41 per cent of people claiming for six months or more.
Howver the percentage for both towns is above the Northern Ireland average of 49.3 per cent, with Cookstown 18th on the list and Magherafelt performing second best at number 25.
For Northern Ireland 30,545 of the 62,301 total unemployed claimants as of April this year had been out of work for six months or more. At 49.3 per cent, this is the third highest percentage for all 12 regions in the UK.
For the UK as a whole, 49.7 per cent of the 1.61 million unemployed claimants had been out of work for more than half the year.
These figures are contained in a new GMB analysis of the official claimant count by duration for April 2012, published recently by Office for National Statistics (ONS) and are ranked by areas with the highest percentages.
Eamon Coy, GMB Senior Organiser, said it is time for the Government to wake up and stop squandering the nation’s skills and talents.
“This massive and irresponsible waste of the human talent and of the skills we need to rebuild our economy shows the complete lack of an industrial policy the nation so badly needs.
“So instead of borrowing to support the economy and to continue the recovery the government has had to borrow to fund the recession. We have spent the last two years going backwards and this is why the electorate has voted down this failed policy,” he added.