Labour Market Statistics Published

Date published: 15 February 2017

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

Labour Market Statistics Published
Statistical Press Release


The post-referendum picture is still emerging and will continue to do so over the coming quarters and years. It is also not possible to separate out the specific impact of the referendum in this quarter from pre- existing trends.  However, the latest figures show there has been little change in unemployment rates since the EU referendum.


Key Points


Labour Force Survey (LFS) unemployment decreases

1. The latest Northern Ireland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period October - December 2016 was 5.3%, representing a decrease of 0.3 percentage points (pps) from the previous quarter, and of 0.5 pps over the year (from 5.8%).

2. There was a marginal increase (0.1 pps) in the employment rate (70.0%) and (0.1 pps) in the economic inactivity rate (25.9%) over the most recent quarter.

3. The latest Northern Ireland unemployment rate (5.3%) was above the UK average of 4.8% however, it was below the European Union (8.3%) rate for October 2016 and Republic of Ireland (7.2%) rate for December 2016.

Northern Ireland claimant count continues to fall

4. The more recent seasonally adjusted number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 31,600 (3.5% of the workforce) in January 2017, representing a decrease of 1,000 from the previous month’s revised figure. The number of people leaving the register in the last 12 month period has slowed, from 10,000 to January 2016 to 6,500 in the recent year to January 2017.

Confirmed redundancies increase

5. There were 210 confirmed redundancies in January 2017. Over the last year to 31st January 2017 here has been an 86% increase in the number of confirmed redundancies: 3,599 compared to 1,932 in the previous year.


6. Annual LFS figures continue to reflect a gradual decline in the unemployment rate over recent years from 7.5% in 2013, 6.4% in 2014, 6.1% in 2015 and 5.8% in 2016.

7. This is the first month we have had 2 full quarters of post EU referendum data, July – September and October – December. This represents the 2 quarters immediately after the referendum and paints a positive picture of the Northern Ireland Labour Market. Since April – June 2016 the employment rate increased by 1.0 pps and both the unemployment and economic inactivity rate decreased (0.7 pps and 0.5 pps respectively). The January 2017 claimant count decreased by 5,100 from the June 2016 figure. However, the post-referendum picture is still emerging and will continue to do so over the coming quarters and years. 

Notes to editors: 

1.     The Labour Market Report is a monthly overview of key labour market statistics. It includes figures from the Labour Force Survey, the claimant count (people claiming unemployment related benefits), the Quarterly Employment Survey of employers and the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings as well as official redundancy data.

2. The Northern Ireland claimant count measure of unemployment is based on people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) from Jobs and Benefits Office Administrative Systems. From 17 June 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) replaced the claimant count based on JSA for Great Britain (GB) with an experimental claimant count based on JSA claimants and a measure of out-of-work claimants of Universal Credit (UC). Although UC has not been introduced in NI, the NI and UK series remain broadly comparable. For more information please refer to the Further Information section of the Labour Market Report (Page 28).

3. The official measure of unemployment is 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 1.2% of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 4.2% and 6.5%).

4. Employee jobs figures are taken from the Quarterly Employment Survey a survey of public sector organisations and private sector firms.

5. This report will be of interest to Ministers, policy makers, public bodies, the business community, banks, economic commentators, academics and the general public with an interest in the local economy.

6. The detailed statistical bulletin is available from the NISRA website.

Further information and tables from each of the data sources are available on the NISRA – Economic and Labour Market Statistics Website.

7. For media enquiries, please contact DfE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

8. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to:

Responsible statistician:

Andrew Mawhinney,

Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), or Tel: 028 9052 9668.

9. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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