The latest labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
NI unemployment rate decreased over the quarter and year to a record low
- The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (16+) for the period August-October 2019 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.3%, a record low. The unemployment rate decreased over the quarter by 0.6 percentage points (pps) and decreased by 1.3pps over the year. The annual change was statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size.
- The NI unemployment rate (2.3%) was below the UK rate (3.8%), the European Union (6.3%) rate for September 2019 and the Republic of Ireland (5.3%) rate for September 2019.
Employment rate increased and economic inactivity rate decreased over the year
- The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased over the quarter (0.4pps) and the year (2.9pps) to the highest rate on record (72.4%). The annual change was statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size.
- The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) increased over the quarter by 0.1pps and decreased over the year by 2.0pps to one of the lowest rates on record (25.9%). The annual change was not statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size. However, the economic inactivity rate was significantly below rates in late 2017.
- Put into the context of the UK, NI has the second lowest employment rate of UK regions and the highest economic inactivity rate of all UK regions.
Confirmed redundancies increased over the year
- The number of confirmed redundancies (3,089) in the most recent 12 months was 17% higher than in the previous 12 months (2,644). NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 89 redundancies took place in November 2019.
- A total of 255 redundancies were proposed in November 2019, an increase on the previous month’s revised total of 85.
- It should be noted that the confirmed total provides a better indication of real job losses than the proposed total. The confirmed figures provided are likely to be an underestimate of total job losses, as under the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (Amended 8 October 2006) companies are only legally required to notify the Department of impending redundancies of 20 or more employees. Companies who propose less than 20 redundancies are not included in the statistics.
Private sector jobs increased over the quarter and year to their highest level on record
- Estimates from the Quarterly Employment Survey September 2019 indicate that private sector jobs increased over the quarter and year to the highest level on record (573,430). Public sector jobs also increased over the quarter and the year. The number of public sector jobs is estimated at 210,580 and is 8% below its highest level in September 2009.
- The total number of employee jobs increased over the quarter (4,210 jobs) and over the year (15,540 jobs) to 782,670; the highest number of jobs on record (in the seasonally adjusted series). The annual change in employee jobs was statistically significant i.e. the recorded change exceeded the variability expected from a survey of this size and was likely to reflect real change.
- All four broad industry sectors showed an increase over the year. The services sector, which accounts for 81% of jobs in NI, accounted for the majority of the annual growth (78%). This is consistent with trends since recovery began in 2012.
- Businesses reported via the Quarterly Employment Survey that employee jobs increased over the quarter and year to a record high of 782,670 jobs. This continues a period of quarter on quarter growth from December 2015. Although increases were seen in all broad industry sectors over the year, the services sector continues to account for the majority of growth. Increases were seen over the year in both full-time and part-time jobs, with full-time jobs accounting for 75% of the growth in all employee jobs over the year.
- The Labour Force Survey shows that the employment rate increased over the quarter and the year to the highest on record (72.4%) while the unemployment rate decreased to a record low of 2.3% and inactivity increased over the quarter and decreased over the year to 25.9%.
- The continued improvements in the NI labour market are consistent with the UK experience, where employment is the highest on record, the number of jobs is at a record high, unemployment is joint lowest on record and inactivity is one of the lowest on record. It is worth noting, while the NI unemployment rate is the lowest of all the UK regions, NI has the second lowest employment rate and highest inactivity rate.
Notes to editors:
1. The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available here.
2. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency wishes to thank the participating households for taking part in the Labour Force Survey.
3. The Labour Market Report is a monthly overview of key labour market statistics. This month’s report includes figures from the Labour Force Survey, official redundancy data, vacancy data and estimates from the Quarterly Employment Survey.
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 unemployment rate is likely to fall within 0.6% of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 1.7% and 2.8%).
5. Redundancy figures 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. Companies are legally required to notify the Department of impending redundancies of 20 or more employees. Companies who propose fewer than 20 redundancies are not included in the statistics. As a result, the figures provided are likely to be an underestimate of total job losses, however, it is not possible to quantify the extent of the shortfall.
6. 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.
7. The next Labour Market Report will be published on the NISRA website on 21 January 2020.
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.
9. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to:
Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS),
firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 028 905 29449.
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