Labour Market Statistics

Date published: 13 August 2019

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

Labour Market and Economic Output Statistics
Labour Market and Economic Output Statistics

Key Points

NI Unemployment rate remains below UK rate

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period April-June 2019 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 3.1 per cent. The unemployment rate increased over the quarter by 0.2 percentage points (pps) and decreased by 0.6pps 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 per cent) was below the UK rate (3.9 per cent), the European Union (6.3 per cent) rate for May 2019 and the Republic of Ireland (4.5 per cent) rate for June 2019.

Employment rate highest on record while economic inactivity rate lowest on record

  • The employment rate (72.2 per cent) increased over the quarter by 0.9pps and over the year by 2.6pps to the highest on record. The annual change was statistically significant, ie the recorded change exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and is likely to reflect real change.                                                        
  • The economic inactivity rate (25.5 per cent) decreased over the quarter by 1.1pps and over the year by 2.2pps to the lowest rate on record. The annual change was statistically significant, ie the recorded change exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and is likely to reflect real change.

Confirmed redundancies

  • The number of confirmed redundancies (1,785) in the most recent 12 months is more than 1,000 fewer than the number reported in the previous 12 months (2,911). NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 109 redundancies took place in July 2019.
  • A total of 90 redundancies were proposed in July 2019, lower than the previous monthly total of 136.
  • 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 per cent) 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 72.2 per cent, while economic inactivity decreased over the quarter and the year to the lowest on record (25.5 per cent). 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 continued improvements in the NI labour market are consistent with the UK experience, where employment is joint highest on record, economic inactivity is the joint lowest on record, and unemployment is one of the 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 online at: Labour Force Survey (NISRA website)

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 includes figures from the Labour Force Survey, official redundancy data and vacancy statistics.

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 unemployment rate is likely to fall within 0.6 per cent of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 2.5 per cent and 3.7 per cent).

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 website.

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 10 September 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 Telephone: 028 9025 5172.

11. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA 

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