Business Register and Employment Survey 2019

Date published: 30 June 2020

The Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) 2019 statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

Business Register and Employment Survey 2019
Business Register and Employment Survey 2019
  • Employee job figures derived from the 2019 Business Register and Employment Survey were released on Tuesday 30 June 2020. These data were collected on 2 September 2019 and therefore do not reflect any impact on the labour market as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Corresponding figures for the whole of the UK will be released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 30 September 2020.
  • BRES is an annual survey of businesses requesting information on the number of employee jobs and business activity. In 2019, approximately 30,000 businesses (40% of all VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses in Northern Ireland) were surveyed and an effective response rate of 71% was achieved. The large sample size allows employee jobs to be disaggregated by geography and industry to relatively small levels.
  • BRES counts the number of jobs rather than the number of persons with a job. As a result, a person holding both a full-time job and a part-time job, or someone with two part-time jobs, will be counted twice.  BRES does not include the self-employed in its employee job estimates. Employee job estimates for Northern Ireland, split by gender and working pattern are presented in the bulletin. Key facts from the bulletin are presented below.

Employee jobs increased by 1.9% over the year to September 2019.

  • BRES 2019 indicated that the total number of employee jobs in Northern Ireland in September 2019 was 785,870. This represents an increase in employee jobs of 14,491 (1.9%) from September 2018.

Employee jobs increased in each of the four Headline Industries.

  • Employee jobs increased in all four headline industries over the year to September 2019. The increase in employee jobs was driven by growth in the Services sector (13,187 jobs) which was responsible for 91% of the total increase.
  • Construction and Manufacturing both grew over the year to September 2019, with a further 276 (0.8%) construction jobs and 830 (1.0%) manufacturing jobs. However, growth was slower than in the previous year for both sectors which grew at 2.6% and 3.8%, respectfully, over the year to September 2018. The Other(1) headline industry also increased over the year with 197 (1%) more jobs.

(1) Other headline industry includes: agriculture, forestry and fishing; mining and quarrying; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, and water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities.

Employee jobs increased in both the private and public sectors.

  • BRES 2019 estimated the number of private sector jobs as 576,964, an increase of 2.1% over the year. The number of public sector jobs was 208,906, an increase of 1.2% over the year.
  • The growth in the private sector was driven by an increase of 9,453 male jobs, offset by a decrease of 1,908 female full-time jobs. The increase in the public sector was driven by a further 2,142 female jobs with a much smaller increase in male jobs (303).

Employee jobs increased in each of the 11 District Council Areas with the exception of Ards and North Down.

  • All District Council areas in Northern Ireland saw an increase in employee jobs except for Ards and North Down, where a small decrease (104) was observed over the year to September 2019. Belfast experienced the largest increase, with 4,559 additional jobs, whereas Derry City and Strabane and Antrim and Newtownabbey saw the largest percentage increase at 3.9% (an increase of 2,332 and 2,298 jobs respectively).
  • Employee job changes at District Council Area level were mostly driven by increases in the Services industry. This was particularly true of Belfast (5,312) and Lisburn and Castlereagh (1,530).
  • The change in Mid Ulster was driven by 757 more Manufacturing jobs and in Fermanagh and Omagh by a further 286 Construction jobs.
  • Ards and North Down, Belfast, Causeway Coast and Glens, Lisburn and Castlereagh and Mid and East Antrim, all experienced a decline in Construction jobs. In addition, these council areas as well as Antrim and Newtownabbey also observed a decrease in Manufacturing jobs.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available at the Business Register and Employment Survey page of the NISRA website
  2. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency wishes to thank the businesses who responded to the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES).
  3. BRES is an annual survey of businesses requesting information on the number of employee jobs and business activity. In 2019, approximately 30,000 businesses (40% of all VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses in Northern Ireland) were surveyed. The large sample size allows employee jobs to be disaggregated by geography and industry to relatively small levels.
  4. BRES provides employee job estimates for Northern Ireland, split by gender and working pattern. BRES counts the number of jobs rather than the number of persons with a job.  As a result, a person holding both a full-time job and a part-time job, or someone with two part-time jobs, will be counted twice. The BRES employee job estimates do not include those that are self-employed.
  5. The BRES data is disaggregated at sub-Northern Ireland geographical levels. The geographical information is, for the most part, based on the location of the jobs at a local unit level. Businesses often relocate employee jobs from one area to another. This causes changes in employee job counts at geographical levels. The relocation or change of reporting procedures by large employers can therefore affect BRES sub-NI analysis when making annual comparisons.
  6. The BRES Report will be of interest to policy makers, public bodies, the business community, banks, economic commentators, academics and the general public with an interest in the local economy.
  7. For media enquiries, please contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110. 
  9. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to Responsible statistician: Arlene Connolly, Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), arlene.connolly@nisra.gov.uk or Tel: 028 9052 9606.

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