Labour Market Statistics Published

Date published: 14 August 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 increased over the quarter and decreased over the year

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period April-June 2018 was 3.8%. The unemployment rate increased by 0.6 pps over the quarter from a record low and decreased by 1.5 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 (3.8%) was below the UK average of 4.0% and was the fourth lowest rate of the UK regions (higher than the South West, South East and East). NI unemployment was lower than the European Union (7.0%) and the Republic of Ireland (5.3%) rates for May 2018.
  • Figures for April-June 2018 estimated that 63.1% of those unemployed in NI were long-term unemployed (i.e. unemployed for one year or more), compared to 26.7% in the UK.
  • The youth unemployment rate (those aged 18 to 24 years) for April-June 2018 was 9.4%, down 3.2 pps over the year.  The UK average rate was 9.8%.

LFS employment rate and inactivity rate both decreased over the quarter and increased over the year

  • There was a decrease (0.4 pps) in the employment rate (69.3%) over the quarter and an increase (0.1 pps) over the year.  The change in the employment rate was not statistically significant over the quarter or the year.                   
  • The economic inactivity rate (27.9%) decreased over the quarter (0.1pps) and increased (1.0 pps) over the year. The changes over the quarter and year were not statistically significant.

NI Claimant Count (Experimental Series) decreased over the month

  • Universal Credit was introduced in NI in September 2017 replacing income-based Jobseekers Allowance for new claimants. On the July claimant count reference date Universal Credit was available in 21 out of 35 Job Centres in NI.
  • In July 2018, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count (which includes some out-of-work claimants of Universal Credit) was 28,100 (3.1% of the workforce). This represents a decrease of 400 from the previous month’s revised figure.

Confirmed redundancies increased over the year

  • The number of confirmed redundancies (2,907) in the most recent 12 months is 30% higher than in the previous 12 months.  NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 133 redundancies took place in July 2018.


  • The most recent results mark the fourth consecutive quarter of historically low unemployment rates in Northern Ireland. At 3.8% the April-June unemployment rate is above the record low reported for the previous quarter and significantly below rates one year ago. While the unemployment rate is low, the number of long term unemployed remains high (at over three fifths of the unemployed).
  • The employment and inactivity rates both decreased over the quarter and increased over the year. At 69.3% the employment rate is significantly above rates estimated in 2013 but remains below the UK (75.6%) and the lowest of the UK regions. The economic inactivity rate (27.9%) is similar to rates 5 years ago and continues to be the highest of the UK regions.
  • The improvements seen in the local labour market over recent quarters are similar to that of the UK labour market which is reporting one of the highest employment rates and the lowest unemployment rate on record. In contrast to the NI experience, the UK results show low levels of economic inactivity.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available at: Labour Market Report
  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 on 028 9037 8110 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), or Tel: 028 9025 5172.
  10. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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