Northern Ireland Labour Market Statistics

Tuesday 15 October, 2019 Written by 
Northern Ireland Labour Market Statistics

LATEST STATISTICS - The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA).

NI unemployment rate remains below UK rate.

The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period June-August 2019 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.9%. The unemployment rate decreased over the quarter by 0.2 percentage points (pps) and decreased by 1.1pps over the year.

The annual change in the unemployment rate was statistically significant, i.e. the recorded changes exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and is likely to reflect real change.

The NI unemployment rate (2.9%) was below the UK rate (3.9%), the European Union (6.3%) rate for July 2019 and the Republic of Ireland (5.3%) rate for July 2019.

Employment rate decreased while economic inactivity rate increased over the quarter.

The employment rate (71.5%) decreased over the quarter by 0.3pps and increased over the year by 1.7pps. The changes in the employment rate were not statistically significant, i.e. the recorded change did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size.                                                   

The economic inactivity rate (26.4%) increased over the quarter by 0.4pps and decreased over the year by 0.9pps. The changes in the employment rate were not statistically significant, i.e. the recorded change did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size.

Number of proposed redundancies highest since 2003

A total of 1,452 redundancies were proposed in September 2019, higher than the previous monthly total of 331. The number of proposed redundancies is the highest monthly total since 2003.

The number of confirmed redundancies (1,976) in the most recent 12 months is lower than the number reported in the previous 12 months (2,896).  NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 286 redundancies took place in September 2019.

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.

Commentary

The Labour Force Survey shows that the employment rate decreased over the quarter to (71.5%), while the unemployment rate decreased to one of its lowest rates of 2.9% and economic inactivity increased to 26.4%.

Despite the quarterly decrease, the employment rate at 71.5% is one of the highest on record and significantly above rates in 2017. Similarly, the economic inactivity rate remains significantly below rates in mid-2017.

Although the NI unemployment rate remains below the UK rate and is the second lowest of all the UK regions, NI has the second lowest employment rate and highest inactivity rate in the UK.

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