SHOCK figures obtained by the Times reveal that workers in Ballymoney are officially among the worst paid in Northern Ireland, writes Nevin Farrell.
The dramatic statistics show that Ballymoney pay-packets were over a quarter lighter than the Northern Ireland average and in fact Ballymoney was ranked 24th lowest out of 25 councils surveyed.
The latest figures available come from the Northern Ireland Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings for April 2011.
No figures were given for Moyle District as the median gross weekly earnings in Moyle were not reported as the sample size was deemed too small for a reliable estimate.
Regarding Ballymoney, the median gross weekly earnings in the Borough Council area at April 2011 were £324.3 per week. That was a median average of £342.7 for men and £280.1 for women.
In Ballymoney, median gross weekly earnings were a massive 28 per cent lower than those for Northern Ireland as a whole.
Only Limavady was worse than Ballymoney. The median gross in Limavady was £286.1 with a median average of £236.7 for women. In Limavady the male median gross weekly earnings were not reported as the sample size was too small for a reliable estimate.
In Limavady the gross weekly earnings were 36.5 per cent lower than those for Northern Ireland as a whole.
Number one for high wages is the Carrick area where the pay was almost a fifth better than the Northern Ireland average.
The median weekly earnings in Carrick in April 2011 were £535.5 per week and the median average for men was £523.2. The women’s sample was not reported because the sample size was too small. But it means the average wage in Carrick is a whopping £211.20 a week more than Ballymoney.
But how does Ballymoney compare with neighbours Coleraine and Ballymena?
Ballymena is sixth in the best paid list behind Carrick, Belfast, Derry, Armagh and Lisburn and Coleraine comes in at 19th.
In Ballymena the median weekly earnings were £458.7 per week - £134.4 more a week than in Ballymoney and in Coleraine the average earnings per week were £381.5 - £57.2 more a week than Ballymoney.
There was also gloom regarding employment statistics in Ballymoney. The number of employee jobs in Ballymoney Borough fell by 8.4 per cent between 2007 and 2009 and the Northern Ireland decrease was down by 2.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Ballymoney Council wards with the highest proportion of unemployed in June 2012 were as follows: Carnany - 8.5 per cent; Route - 8.0 per cent; Newhill - 6.7 per cent; Benvardin - 6.0; Glebe - 5.4 per cent.
The wards with the lowest proportion of claimants were: The Vow - 3.2 per cent; Dunloy - 3.3 per cent; Killoquin Lower - 4.0 per cent; Dervock - 4.6 per cent; Knockahollet - 4.6.
In Moyle the number of employee jobs decreased by 4.3 per cent between 2007 and 2009.
In Moyle the wards with the highest proportion of claimants in June 2012 were: Glentaisie - 8.9 per cent; Bushmills - 8.7 per cent; Ballylough - 8.5 per cent; Armoy - 7.4 per cent; Mosside and Moyarget - 7.1 per cent.
The wards with the lowest proportion of claimants in Moyle were: Glenshesk - 2.9 per cent; Dunseverick - 3.0 per cent; Kinbane - 3.4 per cent; Glenariff - 3.5 per cent; Glendun - 3.6.