From the 1st April 2011, the responsibility for the collection of data and production of official labour market and economic statistics transferred from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), an agency of the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP). This transfer mirrored the position in Great Britain where most business surveys and labour market data collection and statistical production have been transferred from the departments with policy responsibilities to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, it is important to note that there are no planned changes to the production of economic and labour market statistical publications and outputs as a result of the transfer.
Labour Market Summary (seasonally adjusted)
Seasonally adjusted Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for Northern Ireland for the period July - September 2013 showed a decrease over the quarter in the number of unemployed and economically inactive while the number of employed increased. The seasonally adjusted claimant count in October 2013 decreased by 600 over the month to 61,000. There were 257 proposed redundancies notified in the latest reference period and 50 confirmed redundancies in October 2013.
The number of persons in employment in the period July - September 2013 was estimated at 808,000. This estimate increased by 11,000 over the quarter and by 4,000 over the year. The employment rate for those aged 16-64 was estimated at 67.2%, this was up 0.9 percentage points over the quarter and decreased by 0.2 percentage points over the year. The employment rate in NI remained below the UK average (71.8%) and was the lowest rate among the twelve UK regions.
The unemployment rate for the period July - September 2013 was estimated at 7.3%. This estimate decreased by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter and by 0.4 percentage points over the year. The number of unemployed persons was estimated at 63,000, down 1,000 over the quarter and 3,000 over the year.
Unadjusted figures show that 50.7% of the unemployed have been unemployed for 1 year or more – down 2.4 percentage points over the year. They also estimate the unemployment rate for 18 - 24 year olds at 24.7% – up 5.5 percentage points over the year.
The seasonally adjusted number of economically inactive persons in the period July - September 2013 was estimated at 558,000. This figure has decreased by 8,000 over the quarter but increased by 10,000 over the year.
The NI economic inactivity rate for those aged 16-64 stood at 27.4%. This is significantly higher than the UK average rate (22.2%) and is the highest of the twelve UK regions. Unadjusted figures estimate that 27% of the economically inactive, aged 16-64, in NI are students, 26% are sick/disabled, 26% are looking after the family/home, 12% are retired and 9% are ‘other’ reason.
Unadjusted figures, of all those economically inactive, show that while 90% of the inactive do not want work, the remaining 10% (54,000) want employment but do not satisfy the full ILO job search criteria (by actively seeking work and being available to start a job).
Estimates from the LFS have an associated degree of statistical error as they are based on a sample of the population. The annual changes for the main LFS categories of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity were tested for statistical significance. The results showed that none of the annual changes in the estimates were statistically significant i.e. the recorded change did not exceed the variability expected from a sample survey of this size (see Section 9 of the Labour Market Report for details).
Unemployment Regional Comparison
The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (7.3%) is below the overall UK average rate (7.6%) and was the sixth lowest rate among the twelve UK regions. The NI rate was also below the European Union (10.9%) and Republic of Ireland (13.6%) rates for August 2013. Comparable figures for the three months to August 2013 estimate the NI unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds at 22.5%, compared to a UK average rate of 19.8%.
The more recent seasonally adjusted claimant count decreased by 600 from last month’s total. It now stands at 61,000 (6.7% of the workforce) in October 2013. Over the year the Claimant Count in NI has decreased by 3,000 (4.7%) and the workforce unemployment rate has decreased by 0.4 percentage points. Latest figures show that there has been a fall of 3,900 in the claimant count over the most recent nine months and that this is the first time there has been a fall in nine consecutive months since August 2007.
Claimant Count Regional Comparison
The seasonally adjusted claimant count rate in NI (6.7%) was higher than the UK average rate (3.9%) and was the highest rate among the twelve UK regions. This is the 43rd consecutive month that NI has had the highest or second highest UK region unemployment rate, on this measure. The monthly decrease in NI claimants (1.0%) was lower than the UK average decrease (3.1%) during the same period. The annual decrease in NI claimants (4.7%) was the lowest decrease of twelve UK regions (the annual decrease in the UK was 16.9%).
Claimant count rates for District Council Areas
Unadjusted numbers as a percentage of the resident working age population show that the highest rates at October 2013 were in Derry (8.6%), Strabane (8.0%), Belfast (7.0%), and Limavady (6.6%). The only area to show a percentage increase in levels over the year to October 2013 was Strabane (6.1%). For further District Council data please see section 3 of the Labour Market Report.
Employment and Training Measures
The Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) provides a number of services and programmes to help jobseekers find work. In September 2008 Steps to Work, the Department's new flexible approach to helping people to find work, was introduced in Northern Ireland and subsumes the main New Deal programmes. Overall, there has been an increase of 8.4% (1,154 persons) to 14,871 over the year to October 2013 in the number of those claimants who are eligible for mandatory participation on Steps to Work. However, anyone over 18 years old (or lone parents aged 16 years old or over) who is not working (or working less than 16 hours each week) is eligible. Steps to Work and New Deal statistics are currently accessible via the DEL web link below:
There were 257 proposed redundancies notified during the period mid October 2013 to mid November 2013. This compares to 183 proposed redundancies that were notified in the previous monthly period.
There were 50 confirmed redundancies in the month of October . Over the latest twelve month period there were a total of 2,883 confirmed redundancies, an increase of 10% from the previous year (2,613).
Over the latest twelve month period there were a total of 2,382 proposed redundancies, a decrease of 45% from the previous year (4,311). Currently there are 802 outstanding redundancies (that is, proposed but not confirmed), which is 56% lower than this time last year (1,839).
Note that since all proposed redundancies do not actually take place, the confirmed total provides a better indication of real job losses.
Quarterly Employment Survey
The estimated seasonally adjusted employee jobs total in Northern Ireland at June 2013 was 698,390. This represents an increase (+3,240 jobs) from the revised figure for the previous quarter and represents an increase of 5,230 jobs over the year (see Section 9 of the Labour Market Report for details of QES revisions).
The seasonally adjusted quarterly change consisted of increases in the Service Sector (+2,190 jobs), in the Manufacturing sector (+1,160 jobs), in the Other Industries Sector (+120 jobs) and a decrease in the Construction sector (-240 jobs). Over the same period the public sector increased by 460 jobs while the private sector increased by 2,530 jobs.
Over the year to June 2013, the public sector increased by 0.6% (+1,310 jobs) compared to an increase of 0.8% (+3,850 jobs) in the private sector.
In the three months to August 2013, the average actual weekly hours worked in NI was 32.8 hours – higher than the UK average (31.7) for the same period. For full-time workers, in Northern Ireland, the average actual number of hours worked was 37.3 and was above that for the UK (37.1). For part-time workers in Northern Ireland, the average actual numbers of hours worked stood at 17.2 hours whereas the respective figure stood at 15.7 hours in the UK.
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE)
Earnings results for April 2012, which were released on 22nd November 2012, show that yearly growth in median gross weekly earnings for all employees (i.e. both full- and part-time) in NI was 1.6% (to £360.2), compared to the UK where earnings increased by 1.3% (to £405.0). NI full-time employees’ gross weekly earnings at April 2012 were £459.5, which was 90.8% of the figure in the UK (£505.9). NI full-time earnings increased by 3.3% over the period, compared with an increase of 1.5% in the UK.
Full-time weekly private sector earnings in NI increased over the year by 2.0%, to £397.7. This represented a narrowing of the NI/UK private sector pay gap, to 83.0% of the UK figure. Part-time private sector earnings grew 0.8% to £125.0.