Labour Market Statistics

Date published: 16 July 2019

The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

The Labour Market Statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.
The Labour Market Statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

NI Unemployment rate remains below UK rate

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period March-May 2019 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 3.1%. The unemployment rate increased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points (pps) and decreased by 0.3pps over the year. The changes in the unemployment rate over the quarter and over the year were not statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size.
  • The NI unemployment rate (3.1%) was below the UK rate (3.8%), the European Union (6.4%) and the Republic of Ireland (4.6%) rates for April 2019. The UK unemployment rate was its joint lowest on record.

Employment rate highest on record while economic inactivity rate decreased over the quarter and the year

  • The employment rate (71.7%) increased over the quarter by 0.5pps and over the year by 1.7pps to the highest on record. Neither the annual nor quarterly change were statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size.
  • The economic inactivity rate (25.9%) decreased over the quarter by 0.6pps and over the year by 1.5pps to one of the lowest on record. Neither the annual nor quarterly change were statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size.

Confirmed redundancies

  • The number of confirmed redundancies (1,812) in the most recent 12 months is more than 1,000 fewer than the number reported in the previous 12 months (2,848).  NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 101 redundancies took place in June 2019.
  • A total of 136 redundancies were proposed in June 2019, lower than the previous monthly total of 323.
  • It should be noted that the confirmed total provides a better indication of real job losses than the proposed total. The confirmed figures provided are likely to be an underestimate of total job losses, as under the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (Amended 8 October 2006) companies are only legally required to notify the Department of impending redundancies of 20 or more employees. Companies who propose less than 20 redundancies are not included in the statistics.

Commentary

  • Despite a marginal quarterly increase the NI unemployment rate (3.1%) remains below the UK rate and one of the lowest on record. This continues the trend of low unemployment evident since late 2017.
  • The employment rate increased over the quarter and year to a record high of 71.7%, while economic inactivity decreased over the quarter and the year to one of the lowest on record. At 25.9% inactivity is significantly below rates seen in late 2017. Decreases in economic inactivity since late 2017 indicate that changes in labour market status have not been limited to those working or looking for work, but also for those who were previously outside the labour force.
  • The sustained improvements in the NI labour market are consistent with the UK experience, where employment is second highest on record, inactivity is one of the lowest on record and unemployment is joint lowest on record. It is worth noting, however, when compared to the other UK regions, NI has the second lowest employment rate and highest inactivity rate.

 

 

 

Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available on the Labour Force Survey page.
  2. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency wishes to thank the participating households for taking part in the Labour Force Survey. 
  3. The Labour Market Report is a monthly overview of key labour market statistics. This month’s report is an abridged version and includes updated figures from the Labour Force Survey and official redundancy data.
  4. The official measure of unemployment is from the Labour Force Survey. This measure of unemployment relates to people without a job who were available for work and had either looked for work in the last four weeks or were waiting to start a job. This is the International Labour Organisation definition. Labour Force Survey estimates are subject to sampling error. This means that the exact figure is likely to be contained in a range surrounding the estimate quoted. For example, the number of unemployed persons is likely to fall within 0.7% of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 2.4% and 3.8%).
  5. Redundancies are provided by companies under the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (Amended 8 October 2006) whereby they are legally required to notify the Department of (a) redundancies proposed and (b) redundancies confirmed. ) Companies are legally required to notify the Department of impending redundancies of 20 or more employees. Companies who propose less than 20 redundancies are not included in the statistics. As a result, the figures provided are likely to be an underestimate of total job losses, however, it is not possible to quantify the extent of the shortfall.
  6. The experimental Claimant Count data are no longer included in the Labour Market Report.  Experimental Claimant Count data are published on the NISRA website and NOMIS.
  7. The Labour Market 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.
  8. The next Labour Market Report will be published on the NISRA website on 13th August 2019.
  9. For media enquiries, please contact DfE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  10. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to: Responsible statistician: Carly Gordon, Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), carly.gordon@nisra.gov.uk or Tel: 028 9025 5172.
  11. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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