Statistical Press Release - Latest labour market figures

Date published: 16 November 2016

Employment rate and Inactivity rates best since quarterly series began in 1995

Statistical Press Release - Latest labour market figures
Statistical Press Release - Latest labour market figures

The Labour Market Report was published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency. The key findings are:

  • The Labour Force Survey (LFS) measure of unemployment in Northern Ireland (NI) decreased over the quarter to July - September 2016. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in NI also decreased in October 2016.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased by 0.4 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and by 0.3 pps over the year, to 5.6%. The UK unemployment rate (4.8%) fell over the quarter and over the year to July - September 2016.
  • The NI unemployment rate was below the European Union (8.6%) rate for August 2016 and the Republic of Ireland rate (7.9%) for September 2016.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (from NI Jobs and Benefits Offices) decreased by 700 over the month, to 34,000 in October 2016. This is the seventh consecutive monthly decrease.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits has fallen by 30,700 since the most recent peak in February 2013. The number of people leaving the register in the last 12 month period has slowed, from 11,700 to October 2015 to 5,900 in the recent year to October 2016.
  • The fall in unemployment was accompanied with an increase in employment rates and decrease in economic inactivity rates over the year. The LFS employment rate was 69.9%, the highest since the quarterly series began in 1995 while the economic inactivity rate was 25.8%, the lowest since the quarterly series began.
  • None of the reported changes in unemployment, employment or economic inactivity were statistically significant over the quarter or the year. However, there have been statistically significant changes in the economic inactivity rate and in the unemployment rate this quarter compared to April – June 2013, and in the employment rate compared to July - September 2013.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Labour Market Report is a monthly overview of key labour market statistics. It includes figures from the Labour Force Survey, the claimant count (people claiming unemployment related benefits), the Quarterly Employment Survey of employers and the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings as well as official redundancy data.
  2. The NI claimant count measure of unemployment is based on people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) from Jobs and Benefits Office Administrative Systems. From 17 June 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) replaced the claimant count based on JSA for Great Britain (GB) with an experimental claimant count based on JSA claimants and a measure of out-of-work claimants of Universal Credit (UC). Although UC has not been introduced in NI, the NI and UK series remain broadly comparable. For more information please refer to the Further Information section of the Labour Market Report (Page 27).
  3. The official measure of unemployment is 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 1.2% of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 4.4% and 6.8%).
  4. This report will be of interest to Ministers, policy makers, public bodies, the business community, banks, economic commentators, academics and the general public with an interest in the local economy.
  5. The detailed statistical bulletin is available from the NISRA website. Further information and tables from each of the data sources are available on the NISRA – Economic and Labour Market Statistics Website
  6. For media enquiries, please contact DfE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number  07623 974383  and your call will be returned.
  7. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to: Responsible statistician: Andrew Mawhinney, Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), or Tel: 028 9052 9668.
  8. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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