by SEAN-PAUL DORAN
THE number of people of working age claiming unemployment benefits in Armagh fell marginally last year.
While 22 of the 26 council areas in Northern Ireland saw an increase in the number of claimants throughout 2012, Armagh City and District saw a decrease of 0.3%.
A total of 1,868 people claimed unemployment benefits in Armagh in December, below the NI average of 2,445 and below neighbours Craigavon at 3,119.
These statistics equate to 5% of people of working age (16-64) in Armagh and 5.3% in Craigavon.
Males make up more than 2/3 of the claimants in both council areas, with 1,332 male claimants in Armagh compared to 2,237, a trend that is common across the North.
The figures also show that Newry and Armagh was the only parliamentary constituency to record a drop in the claimant count in 2012, falling 0.6% to 4,149.
The other 17 constituencies all recorded rises throughout the year, with East Antrim seeing the biggest increase of 16.6%.
However, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits across NI now stands at 7.9%, above the UK average of 7.7%.