§ 13. Mr. Lyons
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the development of the Northern Ireland economy since the Good Friday agreement. 
§ Mr. Pearson
Since the Good Friday agreement was signed, the number of employee jobs has reached record levels, increasing by 61,550 from March 1998 to December 2003. Claimant count unemployment at 4.1 per cent. of the work force is at its lowest rate since the mid 1970s and growth in Gross Value Added of 13 per cent. between 1998 and 2001 makes Northern Ireland one of the fastest growing UK regions.