Good news on the jobs front

Figures show a positive outlook on the jobs front.
Figures show a positive outlook on the jobs front.

THERE were no official job redundancies in either the Cookstown or Magherafelt district council areas in the first eight months of this year.

Figures released from DETI also show that the number of people out of work in the two areas fell during August.

And the good news is that Cookstown and Magherafelt are currently enjoying the lowest rates of unemployment in Northern Ireland.

For Cookstown, the statistics show there were 1,039 claimants during August compared with 1,208 in Magherafelt.

The number of official redundancies (as notified to DETI Statistics Research Branch) in both areas was zero for the first eight months of this year. In 2012, there were 51 redundancies in Cookstown while Magherafelt recorded none.

Commenting on the positive employment news, Manager of Cookstown Enterprise Centre Ciaran Higgins said while the recovery of the economy is still likely to take some time there is no doubt that business activity in Magherafelt and Cookstown is increasing, as shown by these latest figures.

“We are also encouraged by the number of new business starts in the Magherafelt and Cookstown areas over the past six months, which again demonstrates that the local economy is starting to provide more and more opportunities,” he told the MAIL.

“We need to continue to build on these opportunities and given that our local area is dominated by small indigenous businesses, it is imperative that we continue to provide the appropriate support to assist with both the start-up of new businesses as well as the development of our existing small businesses,” Mr Higgins added.

And Ulster Unionist Party Economy Spokesperson Sandra Overend MLA, has also welcomed the promising employment and unemployment figures from Mid-Ulster. She has praised the adaptability and entrepreneurial nature of the people of Mid-Ulster.

“The news that there have been no official redundancies in Cookstown or Magherafelt in the first eight months of the year, along with low levels of people out of work in the area is to be warmly welcomed. We are moving out of a long and difficult  recession, which was felt very acutely by the people of Mid-Ulster, where the construction industry was particularly hard hit by the downturn,” she said.

The MLA said the figures are promising in that they show tentative recovery in Mid-Ulster.

“I would suggest that the people of Mid-Ulster are particularly resilient and flexible with a great ability to adapt from one industry to another when times are tough, and many have a great entrepreneurial spirit,” she added.

The MLA pointed out that this is backed up by figures released to her in a Ministerial Question from the Enterprise Minister stating Mid-Ulster was in the top two constituencies for the number of business start-ups during the past five years.

 “These figures, however, in no way mean that we can take our foot off the pedal in terms of working towards rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy, and striving for further growth. Living standards are still being squeezed, with high energy prices hitting families and businesses particularly hard,” she said.