Labour Market Statistics Published

Date published: 11 September 2018

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

Unemployment increased over the quarter and decreased over the year

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period May-July 2018 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 4.0%. The unemployment rate increased by 0.7 percentage points (pps) from the previous quarter and decreased by 1.3pps over the year (from 5.3%). 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 and are, therefore, not likely to reflect a real change.
  • The NI unemployment rate (4.0%) was the same as the UK rate, and below the European Union (6.9%) and the Republic of Ireland (5.1%) rates for June 2018.
  •  Almost three-fifths (59.3%) of those unemployed in NI were long-term unemployed (i.e. unemployed for one year or more), compared to 25.9% in the UK.

Employment rate and the economic inactivity rate decreased over the quarter

  • There was a decrease (0.3 pps) in the employment rate (69.3%) over the quarter and an increase over the year (1.1pps).  The change in the employment rate was not statistically significant over the quarter or the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate (27.7%) decreased over both the quarter and the year by 0.2pps. These changes 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 August claimant count reference date Universal Credit was available in 21 out of 35 Job Centres in NI. 
  • In August 2018, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count (which includes some out-of-work claimants of Universal Credit) was 28,000 (3.1% of the workforce). This represents a decrease of 100 from the previous month’s revised figure.

Confirmed redundancies increased over the year

  • The number of confirmed redundancies (2,865) in the most recent 12 months is 35% higher than in the previous 12 months.  NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 117 redundancies took place in August 2018.

Public and private sector jobs increased over the quarter and the year

  • The Quarterly Employment Survey showed that private sector jobs increased over the quarter and year to their highest level on record (556,250). Public sector jobs also increased over the quarter and year but are 9.0% below the series peak in Q3 2009.  The public sector total now stands at 207,610.
  • The total number of employee jobs increased over the quarter (2,550 jobs) and over the year (15,550 jobs) to 765,100; the highest number of jobs on record.
  • Increases were experienced in all broad industry sectors over the year; the services sector accounted for the majority (67%) of growth. Within the services sector the greatest increases over the year were within retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles; employment activities and human health activities.


  • The unemployment rate for NI increased by 0.7pps over the quarter and is now equivalent to the UK unemployment rate. This follows three quarters where the NI unemployment rate was below the UK. However, at 4.0% the May-July unemployment rate is still one of the lowest recorded for NI.
  • The employment rate decreased over the quarter and increased over the year. At 69.3% the employment rate is statistically significantly above rates estimated in 2013 but remains below the UK (75.5%) and the lowest of the UK regions. The economic inactivity rate (27.7%) decreased over the quarter and the year and is similar to rates 5 years ago. It continues to be the highest of the UK regions.
  • Businesses reported an increase in employee jobs over the quarter and year to June 2018. Increases were experienced across all broad industry sectors and dominated by an increase in service sector jobs.



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 3.0% and 5.0%).
  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.
    Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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