Labour Market Statistics Published

Date published: 17 July 2018

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

Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey – Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)
Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey – Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)

Key Points

Labour Force Survey (LFS) unemployment was unchanged over the quarter and decreased over the year

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period March-May 2018 was 3.5%, the joint fourth lowest on record. The unemployment rate was unchanged over the quarter and decreased by 1.8 pps over the year (from 5.3%). The annual rate change was statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and would, therefore, likely reflect a real change.
  • The NI unemployment rate (3.5%) was below the UK average of 4.2% and was the joint second lowest rate of the UK regions (higher than the South West and the same as the South East and East). NI unemployment was lower than the European Union (7.1%) and the Republic of Ireland (5.9%) rates for April 2018.
  • Figures for Mar-May 2018 estimated that 59.0% of those unemployed in NI were long-term unemployed (i.e. unemployed for one year or more), compared to 27.1% in the UK.

LFS employment rate and inactivity rate improved over the quarter

  • There was an increase (0.3 pps) in the employment rate (69.8%) over the quarter and over the year (1.1 pps).  The change in the employment rate was not statistically significant over the quarter or the year.                                                                                       
  • The economic inactivity rate (27.5%) decreased over the quarter (0.3pps) and increased by 0.2 pps over the year. The changes over the quarter and year were not statistically significant.

NI Claimant Count (Experimental Series) increased over the month

  • Universal Credit was introduced in NI in September 2017 replacing income-based Jobseekers Allowance for new claimants. On the June claimant count reference date Universal Credit was available in 19 out of 35 Job Centres in NI.
  • This is the fifth month that the claimant count reported included Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimants and those claimants of Universal Credit who were claiming it principally for the reason of being unemployed. The claimant count is an experimental statistic as it is still in the development phase.
  • In June 2018, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count (which includes some out-of-work claimants of Universal Credit) was 28,600 (3.1% of the workforce). This represents a decrease of 200 from the previous month’s revised figure.

Confirmed redundancies increased over the year

  • The number of confirmed redundancies (2,848) in the most recent 12 months is 23% higher than in the previous 12 months.  NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 792 redundancies took place in June 2018; approximately two fifths of which occurred in the manufacturing sector.

Commentary

  • The NI labour market continues to demonstrate some of the lowest unemployment and highest employment rates on record, while inactivity rates are similar to those five years ago.
  • The unemployment rate (3.5%) was unchanged over the quarter and is significantly below rates one year ago. The NI unemployment rate remains below the UK rate for the third consecutive quarter after being higher since the end of 2013. While the unemployment rate is low, the number of long term unemployed remains high at almost three-fifths (59.0%) of the unemployed.
  • The employment rate increased over the quarter and year to one of the highest recorded rates in NI. At 69.8% it is significantly above rates estimated in 2013 but remains below the UK (75.7%) and is the lowest of the UK regions.
  • The economic inactivity rate (27.5%) decreased over the quarter and increased over the year and continues to be the highest of the UK regions. The March-May rate is similar to rates in 2012 and 2013 and significantly below peak rates recorded in mid-2009.
  • The improvements seen in the local labour market over recent quarters are similar to that of the UK labour market which is reporting the highest employment rate and joint lowest unemployment rates on record. In contrast to the NI experience, the UK results show the joint lowest inactivity rates on record.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available at Labour Force Survey
  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, the claimant count (people claiming unemployment related benefits), the Quarterly Employment Survey, the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings and official redundancy data.
  3. From March 2018 the NI claimant count figures have included Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimants and those claimants of Universal Credit who were claiming it principally for the reason of being unemployed. This is an experimental series and is calculated on the same basis as the GB Claimant Count.  For more information please refer to the Further Information section of the Labour Market Report.
  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 1.0% of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 2.5% and 4.5%).
  5. Employee jobs figures are taken from the Quarterly Employment Survey a survey of public sector organisations and private sector firms.
  6. 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.
  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. 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 974 383 and your call will be returned.
  9. 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.
     
  10. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA
     

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