SDLP Foyle MLA Sinead McLaughlin, the party's jobs spokesperson, has expressed serious concern about the fall in Derry's employment rate, disclosed in the latest labour market statistics.
The NI employment rate (the percentage of working age adults with jobs) has fallen to 69.3%, which is not only the lowest in the UK but with a large and growing gap. The rate in Derry is just 68.0%. The UK rate is 75.0%.
McLaughlin said: “We are in a growing crisis of joblessness. The employment rate across the North of Ireland shows a serious and worsening gap in performance compared to Great Britain, but the situation is particularly bad in Derry.
“This is a problem that is particularly severe and damaging for our young adults. The UK figures show that the burden is falling disproportionately on young adults, with more than 60% of the fall in the number of employed people being in the under 25s. Northern Ireland also has a much higher proportion of young adults not in education, employment or training than in Great Britain.
“Unless we do more to help young adults, there is a serious risk of them losing connection with the labour market. That is why I spoke in the Assembly this week calling on Sinn Fein’s communities minister to make faster progress in establishing the Job Start scheme to provide work placements for young adults. We must do more and do it quickly, otherwise we will be failing our young adults.”