Labour Market Statistics

Date published: 15 November 2022

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

Labour Market Statistics
Labour Market Statistics

Key points

Payrolled employees and monthly earnings recorded an increase over the month

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in October 2022 was 781,300, a 0.2% increase over the month and a 2.5% increase over the year. When considering the annual change in employees by industry sector, the largest percentage increase over the year was recorded in the ‘Information and communication’ (9.2%) sector.
  • Earnings from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,967 in October 2022, an increase of £10 (0.5%) over the month and an increase of £117 (6.3%) over the year.

Second consecutive monthly increase in the claimant count

  • In October 2022, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 36,100 (3.8% of the workforce), which was an increase of 1.4% from the previous month’s revised figure.  The October claimant count remains higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020 (by 21.1%).

Lowest twelve-month total of confirmed redundancies in time series

  • NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 60 redundancies occurred in October 2022, taking the annual total to 940, the lowest annual total in the time series (since 2000).
  • Over the year November 2021 to October 2022, 1,290 redundancies were proposed.

Labour Force Survey (LFS) headline measures

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period July-September 2022 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 3.0%.  This was an increase of 0.3 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and a decrease of 1.3pps over the year.  The annual change was statistically significant.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased by 0.4pps over the quarter and increased by 2.0pps over the year to 70.1%.  Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant.  The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (26.5 million) decreased by 4.7% over the quarter and increased by 1.7% over the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) decreased by 0.6pps over the quarter and by 1.0pps over the year to 27.7%.  Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant.


  • The latest labour market release shows that payroll employee numbers and earnings have both increased over the year. Measures of total employment (e.g. employment rate and hours worked), unemployment and economic inactivity continue to show improvement over the year but have not yet returned to their pre-pandemic position.
  • The latest HMRC payroll data showed that payrolled employee numbers increased by 0.2% over the month and are 2.5% above the figure recorded in October 2021. Payroll earnings also increased over the month, by 0.5% and are 6.3% above the figure recorded in October 2021.
  • There were 60 redundancies confirmed to the Department in October 2022. Over the most recent twelve-month period, 1,290 redundancies were proposed and 940 were confirmed, continuing the trend of decreasing annual confirmed redundancies seen throughout 2022.  
  • The claimant count estimate increased over the month to October 2022 from the revised estimate for September 2022. This is the second consecutive monthly increase following a trend of decreases between March 2021 and August 2022. The claimant count rate however has remained at 3.8% for the sixth consecutive month.
  • The Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows a statistically significant decrease in the unemployment rate over the year to July-September 2022 to 3.0%.  When compared to pre-pandemic levels in October-December 2019, the total number of hours worked in July-September 2022 was 9.0% below, whilst the employment rate was 2.3pps below. The economic inactivity rate remains 1.9pps above the pre-pandemic position and the unemployment rate is 0.6pps above the pre-pandemic period.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical report and associated tables are available at: 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. ‘Over the quarter’ refer to comparisons between the latest quarterly estimates for the period July-September 2022 and the quarter preceding that (i.e. April-June 2022).  ‘Over the year’ refer to comparisons between the latest quarterly estimates for the period July-September 2022 and those of the corresponding quarter one year previously (i.e. July-September 2021).  Changes that are found to be significant in a statistical sense (i.e. where the estimated change exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and was likely to reflect real change) will be specifically highlighted.
  4. Estimates relating to July-September 2022 should be compared with the estimates for April-June.  This provides a more robust estimate than comparing with the estimates for June-August, as the July and August data are included within both estimates.
  5. 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 0.7pps of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 2.3% and 3.7%).
  6. The claimant count is an administrative data source derived from Jobs and Benefits Offices systems, which records the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits.  In March 2018 the NI claimant count measure changed from one based solely on Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) to an experimental measure based on JSA claimants and out-of-work Universal Credit (UC) claimants who were claiming principally for the reason of being unemployed.  Those claiming unemployment-related benefits (either UC or JSA) may be wholly unemployed and seeking work, or may be employed but with low income and/or low hours, that make them eligible for unemployment-related benefit support.  Under UC a broader span of claimants became eligible for unemployment-related benefit than under the previous benefit regime.
  7. 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 impending redundancies of 20 or more employees.  Companies who propose fewer than 20 redundancies are not required to notify the Department, therefore 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.  All other things being equal we would expect more redundancies in sectors dominated by large businesses as they are the businesses that meet the 20 or more collective redundancy criteria.
  8. To prevent the potential identification of individual businesses, redundancy totals relating to fewer than 3 businesses are not disclosed. The Statistical Disclosure Control Policy is available here: NISRA redundancies website. Where the number of businesses does not meet the threshold for release (as detailed in the Statistical Disclosure Control Policy), individual monthly totals are not published.
  9. HMRC’s Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) system is an administrative data source. The PAYE RTI system is the system employers use to take Income Tax and National Insurance contributions before they pay wages to employees. These data relate to employees paid by employers only, and do not include self-employment income.
  10. Estimates of the number of paid employees and employee earnings from PAYE are classed as experimental statistics as they are still in their development phase. As a result the data are subject to revisions.  Early estimates (flash estimates) for October 2022 are based on around 85% of information, and will be subject to revision in the next month’s release when between 98% and 99% of data will be available (main estimates). The size of revisions to main and flash estimates are similar for employees, while revisions to earnings flash estimates are typically larger than main estimate revisions. The HMRC PAYE covers the whole population rather than a sample of employees or companies. Data are based on where employees live and not the location of their place of work within the UK. Data are seasonally adjusted but not adjusted for inflation.  
  11. Today’s publication of the Labour Market Report (LMR) marks the third release in HTML format. The content and format of the report and monthly tables have changed to make them more user friendly and interactive, enhancing accessibility, and increasing automation in their production. As the tables have changed, a mapping document has been created showing the relationship between old and new tables. In addition, the LMR, supplementary documents and data tables will all be available on one webpage with links added to individual data source pages directing users to the most recent data.
  12. 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.
  13. The next Labour Market Report will be published on the NISRA website on Tuesday 13 December 2022.
  14. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at:
  15. 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.
  16. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI.
  17. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to: Responsible statistician: Mark McFetridge, Economic & Labour Market Statistics (ELMS), or Tel: 028 902 55172.

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