A new report has warned that the number of unemployed in Northern Ireland could reach 55,000 before the end of 2009.

There are 36,000 people currently unemployed, the figure having increased by a third in the last quarter.

According to the latest economic review from Ulster Bank the unemployment rate could increase to 7%.

Experts say that by the end of this year the economy in Northern Ireland will have shrunk by 3%, but they also believe the North could start emerging from the recession earlier than the rest of the UK.

Economists say that recovery would be helped if the Stormont Executive could bring forward social housing and capital investment plans which would greatly benefit the ailing construction.