Unemployment in Mid Ulster has plummeted after a total of 728 people returned to work in the district over the past year, reducing the dole claimant count by 26 percent.
The drop is one of the largest in Northern Ireland, where the average fall was 21%. Last month, Mid Ulster had the biggest fall in the jobless rate at 7%.
Mid Ulster has now the second lowest percentage of working age people reliant on unemployment benefits in the North at 2.3%, just behind Lisburn and Casltereagh’s rate of 2.2%.
Job queues shrank in all of Northern Ireland’s council districts, with the largest reduction in Newry and Mourne at 28%.
New figures released by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency reveal the scale of dramatic falls in unemployment across the region.
New job opportunities, training schemes, apprenticeships and a string of recruitment schemes have all contributed to the drop.
The figures are a further boost to the district after it was revealed that Mid Ulster has the highest concentration of businesses in the west of the province.
Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy welcomed the continued drop in people out of work.
“The current figures are encouraging and indicates an improving picture in Mid Ulster. There has been a significant reduction on the figure compared to last year and the good news is that the fall has continued month on month”, he said.
“With over 500 more people in work locally the wider effect on shops and business is positive. However I do recall earlier reports stating that there were more women in Mid Ulster in lower paid and less secure jobs, this is an issue that must be addressed.”
“As we move into a new year I look forward to working with local businesses and local industries to see how we can create opportunities for investment and increased employment. The constituency has come through several difficult years due to the economic challenges and it has been local companies that have worked hard providing work for many people.”