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

Date published: 28 May 2020

Statistics on young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Stock image of a graph for decorative purposes
Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey

Young people who were NEET

  • There were an estimated 21,000 young people aged 16-24 years in Northern Ireland who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in January - March 2020. This was equivalent to 10.7 per cent of all aged 16-24 years. The proportion of young people who were NEET in the UK was 10.3 per cent .
  • The number of NEETs has been on a general downward trend over the last four years from a peak of 39,000 in January - March 2015.
  • In January - March 2020 there were an estimated 16,000 young people aged 16-24 years who were not in education, employment or training and who were not looking for work and/or not available to start work (economically inactive). The remainder of those who were not in education, employment or training were looking for work in the previous four weeks and available to start within the next two weeks (unemployed).

Notes to editors: 

The associated NEET tables are available on the  Quarterly Labour Force Survey Tables - May 2020 page of the NISRA website.

The Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) tables provide information on the labour market status of 16-24 year olds. The tables are published in February, May, August and November and the figures are obtained from the Labour Force Survey (a survey of households).

A person is considered to be in education or training if any of the following apply –

  • They are enrolled on an education course and are still attending or waiting for term to (re)start.
  • They are doing an apprenticeship
  • They are on a government-supported employment or training programme
  • They are working or studying towards a qualification
  • They have had job-related training or education in the last four weeks.

In employment includes all people in some form of paid work, including working part-time. People not in employment are classed as either unemployed or economically inactive. Unemployed people are those who have been looking for work in the past four weeks and who are available to start work within the next two weeks. Economically inactive people are those who have not been looking for work and/or who are not available to start work. Examples include those not looking for work because they are students or looking after dependents at home. These definitions are based on those recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The number who were NEET decreased from the previous quarter and was unchanged over the year, the change over the quarter was not statistically significant. The LFS is a sample survey and, as such, estimates obtained from it are subject to sampling variability. If we drew many samples, each would give a different result. Quarterly changes should be considered within longer term trends.

NEET statistics based on the Labour Force Survey 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.

The next NEET tables will be published on the NISRA website on 20 August 2020.

For media enquiries, please contact DfE Press Office on 028 9052 9604 or email pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to: Responsible statistician: Sarah Fyffe, Economic and Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), sarah.fyffe@nisra.gov.uk or Tel: 028 905 29449.

Share this page

Back to top