Northern Ireland Labour Market Statistics Published Today

Tuesday 11 September, 2018 Written by 
Northern Ireland Labour Market Statistics Published Today

The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

Unemployment increased over the quarter and decreased over the year

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period May-July 2018 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 4%. The unemployment rate increased by 0.7 percentage points (pps) from the previous quarter and decreased by 1.3pps over the year (from 5.3%). Neither the annual nor quarterly change were statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and are, therefore, not likely to reflect a real change.
  • The NI unemployment rate (4%) was the same as the UK rate, and below the European Union (6.9%) and the Republic of Ireland (5.1%) rates for June 2018.
  •  Almost three-fifths (59.3%) of those unemployed in NI were long-term unemployed (i.e. unemployed for one year or more), compared to 25.9% in the UK.

Employment rate and the economic inactivity rate decreased over the quarter

  • There was a decrease (0.3 pps) in the employment rate (69.3%) over the quarter and an increase over the year (1.1pps).  The change in the employment rate was not statistically significant over the quarter or the year.     
  • The economic inactivity rate (27.7%) decreased over both the quarter and the year by 0.2pps. These changes were not statistically significant.

NI Claimant Count (Experimental Series) decreased over the month

  • Universal Credit was introduced in NI in September 2017 replacing income-based Jobseekers Allowance for new claimants. On the August claimant count reference date Universal Credit was available in 21 out of 35 Job Centres in NI.
  • In August 2018, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count (which includes some out-of-work claimants of Universal Credit) was 28,000 (3.1% of the workforce). This represents a decrease of 100 from the previous month’s revised figure.

Confirmed redundancies increased over the year

  • The number of confirmed redundancies (2,865) in the most recent 12 months is 35% higher than in the previous 12 months.  NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 117 redundancies took place in August 2018.

Public and private sector jobs increased over the quarter and the year

  • The Quarterly Employment Survey showed that private sector jobs increased over the quarter and year to their highest level on record (556,250). Public sector jobs also increased over the quarter and year but are 9% below the series peak in Q3 2009.  The public sector total now stands at 207,610.
  • The total number of employee jobs increased over the quarter (2,550 jobs) and over the year (15,550 jobs) to 765,100; the highest number of jobs on record.
  • Increases were experienced in all broad industry sectors over the year; the services sector accounted for the majority (67%) of growth. Within the services sector the greatest increases over the year were within retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles; employment activities and human health activities.

ABC Comment

  • The unemployment rate for NI increased by 0.7pps over the quarter and is now equivalent to the UK unemployment rate. This follows three quarters where the NI unemployment rate was below the UK. However, at 4% the May-July unemployment rate is still one of the lowest recorded for NI.
  • The employment rate decreased over the quarter and increased over the year. At 69.3% the employment rate is statistically significantly above rates estimated in 2013 but remains below the UK (75.5%) and the lowest of the UK regions. The economic inactivity rate (27.7%) decreased over the quarter and the year and is similar to rates five years ago. It continues to be the highest of the UK regions.
  • Businesses reported an increase in employee jobs over the quarter and year to June 2018. Increases were experienced across all broad industry sectors and dominated by an increase in service sector jobs.

ABC Comment: SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has called for urgent action after it emerged that a staggering 1,800 health and social care jobs in Northern Ireland remain vacant. He said these figures whilst awful were not unexpected and are indicative of a historical lack of workforce planning that is plaguing the Department of Health.

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