Labour Market Statistics

Date published: 16 April 2019

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

Unemployment rate fell to the joint lowest on record

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period December-February 2019 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 3.0 per cent. The unemployment rate decreased over the quarter by 0.5 percentage points (pps) and decreased by 0.4pps over the year. 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 NI unemployment rate (3.0 per cent) was below the UK rate (3.9 per cent), the European Union (6.5 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (5.3 per cent) rates for January 2019.
  • Over half (55.8 per cent) of those unemployed in NI were long-term unemployed (i.e. unemployed for one year or more), compared to 26.2 per cent in the UK.

Employment rate increased to the highest on record

  • The employment rate (71.2 per cent) increased over the quarter by 1.4pps and over the year by 1.8pps to the highest on record. The change in the quarterly employment rate was statistically significant over the quarter i.e. 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 (26.6 per cent) decreased over the quarter by 1.0pps and over the year by 1.5pps to one of the lowest rates 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 increased over the year

  • The number of confirmed redundancies (2,357) in the most recent 12 months is 24 per cent higher than in the previous 12 months. NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 230 redundancies took place in March 2019.

Increase in workplace pension scheme membership over the year

  • Pensions results released on 12 April showed the proportion of employees who belonged to a workplace pension scheme in increased over the year to 74 per cent. This is the sixth consecutive year of increases and follows pension reforms in 2012 (the introduction of Automatic Enrolment).

Commentary

  • The unemployment rate for December – February 2019 was estimated at 3.0 per cent, the joint lowest on record, while the employment rate was estimated at 71.2 per cent, the highest on record. Following a decrease of 1.5pps over the year, the inactivity rate, at 26.6 per cent, is one of the lowest on record, and is similar to the relatively low levels seen in 2016. 
  • The improvements in the NI labour market since 2017 are consistent with the UK experience, where unemployment and inactivity are joint lowest on record and employment is at a joint record high. However, it is worth noting, when compared to the other UK regions, NI has the second lowest unemployment rate, the second lowest employment rate and highest inactivity rate.

 

 

Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available at the Labour Force Survey page.
  2. The Labour Market Report is a monthly overview of key labour market statistics. This month’s report includes figures from the Labour Force Survey and official redundancy data. 
  3. 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 per cent of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 2.3 per cent and 3.7 per cent).
  4. 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.
  5. Pension results 2018 was published on the 12 of April 2019 and is available at the NI ASHE Pension Results page.
  6. The experimental Claimant Count data are no longer included in the Labour Market Report.  The data tables will continue to be published on the NISRA website and counts will also be available from 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 14 May 2019.
  9. Employee jobs figures are taken from the Quarterly Employment Survey; a survey of public sector organisations and private sector firms. Headline totals for employee jobs are seasonally adjusted. Estimates for industry sub-sections at 2 digit SIC level are not adjusted for seasonality.
  10. 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.
  11. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to Responsible statistician: Carly Gordon, Economic and Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), carly.gordon@nisra.gov.uk or Tel: 028 9025 5172.
  12. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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