Labour Market Statistics Published

Date published: 16 October 2018

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

Labour Market Statistics Published
Statistical Press Release

Key points

Unemployment increased over the quarter and decreased over the year

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period June-August 2018 was 4.3 per cent (total of 38,000). The unemployment rate increased by 0.9 pps over the quarter and decreased by 0.4 pps over the year (from 4.7 per cent). Although the quarterly and annual changes were not statistically significant, the decrease from early 2016 (5.9 per cent) was statistically significant.
  • The NI unemployment rate (4.3 per cent) is above the UK average of 4.0 per cent and the joint fourth highest rate of the UK regions. NI unemployment was lower than the European Union (6.8 per cent) and the Republic of Ireland (5.9 per cent) rates for July 2018.
  • Approximately half (51 per cent) of those unemployed in NI were unemployed for one year or more, compared to 25 per cent in the UK.

Employment rate decreased over the quarter while the economic inactivity rate was unchanged

  • There was a decrease (0.6 pps) in the employment rate (69.2 per cent or 811,000 persons) over the quarter and an increase (0.8 pps) over the year. The change in the employment rate was not statistically significant over the quarter or the year. 
  • The economic inactivity rate (27.5 per cent - equating to 322,000 persons) was unchanged over the quarter and decreased over the year (0.6 pps). 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 September claimant count reference date Universal Credit was available in 23 out of 35 Job Centres in NI.
  •  In September 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 per cent 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 (2,889) in the most recent 12 months is 50 per cent higher than in the previous 12 months. NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 84 redundancies took place in September 2018 and notification that 729 were proposed between mid-September and mid-October 2018.


Unemployment increased over the quarter to 4.3 per cent. This is the first time in a year that unemployment has risen above 4.0 per cent and above the UK unemployment rate. Despite this increase over the quarter, the rate is below the unemployment rate one year ago and remains low when compared to rates over the last ten years.

The employment rate decreased over the quarter and increased over the year. At 69.2 per cent the employment rate is statistically significantly above rates estimated in 2013 but remains below the UK (75.5 per cent) and the lowest of the UK regions. The economic inactivity rate (27.5 per cent) was unchanged over the quarter and decreased over the year. It continues to be the highest of the UK regions.


Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available at NISRA website
  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 1.1% of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 3.3% and 5.4%).
  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. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  9. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to:
    Responsible statistician:
    Carly Gordon,
    Economic and Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), or Tel: 028 9025 5172.
  10. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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