Statistical Press Release - Latest labour market figures

Date published: 18 May 2016

NI economic inactivity rate is the lowest since the 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 that:

  • The Labour Force Survey (LFS) measure of unemployment in Northern Ireland (NI) increased over the quarter to January - March 2016. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in NI decreased in April 2016.
  • Over the quarter and the year, the employment rate increased and the economic inactivity rate decreased. The employment rate is close to its previous high point and the economic inactivity rate is the lowest since the series began in 1995.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) increased by 0.3 percentage points (pps) over the quarter but decreased by 0.1 pps over the year, to 6.2%. This is similar to the averages for 2014 (6.4%) and 2015 (6.1%). The UK unemployment rate (5.1%) was unchanged over the quarter (to January - March 2016) but fell over the year.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (from NI Jobs and Benefits Offices) decreased by 600 over the month, to 37,900 in April. This decrease comes after two consecutive months where the claimant count had increased.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits has fallen by 26,800 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 April 2015 to 6,500 in the recent year to April 2016.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased over the quarter and over the year to 69.0% which remained lower than the UK employment rate (74.2%).
  • The NI economic inactivity rate (26.3%) was 0.6 pps lower than in the previous quarter and 0.9 pps lower than in the previous year. Although at an all time low, the NI economic inactivity rate remained noticeably higher than in the UK (21.7%).

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 1.3% of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 4.9% and 7.5%). 

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 at: Labour Market Report. 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. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 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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