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

Date published: 19 November 2020

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

NEET statistics published by NISRA..
NEET statistics published by NISRA..

Young people who were NEET:

  • There were an estimated 26,000 young people aged 16-24 years in Northern Ireland who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in July - September 2020. This was equivalent to 13.2% of all those aged 16-24 years. The proportion of young people who were NEET in the UK was 12.4%.
  • The number of NEETS has been relatively consistent over the last 4 years ranging between 21,000 and 24,000 for the majority of quarters. Whilst the most recent quarter shows a higher number of NEETS, it is still below the levels seen before 2016.
  • In July - September 2020 there were an estimated 19,000 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: 

1. The associated NEETs tables are available at Quarterly Labour Force Survey Tables – November 2020 page of the NISRA website.

2. 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).

3. 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.

4. 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).

5. The number who were NEET increased from the previous quarter and over the year, neither change was 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.

6. 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.

7. The next NEET tables will be published on the NISRA website on 4 March 2021.

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9. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office on:

10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

11. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to Responsible statistician: Carly Gordon, Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), or Telephone: 028 905 29449.

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