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 January - March 2013 showed a decrease over the quarter in the number of employed while the number of unemployed and economically inactive increased. The seasonally adjusted claimant count in April 2013 decreased by 200 over the month to 64,300. There were 176 proposed redundancies notified in the latest reference period and 181 confirmed redundancies in April 2013.
The number of persons in employment in the period January - March 2013 was estimated at 793,000. This estimate decreased by 6,000 over the quarter and by 6,000 over the year. The employment rate for those aged 16-64 was estimated at 66.6%, this was down 0.4 percentage points over the quarter and 0.9 over the year. The employment rate in NI remained below the UK average (71.4%) and was the equal lowest rate among the twelve UK regions.
The unemployment rate for the period January - March 2013 was estimated at 8.1%. This estimate increased by 0.3 percentage points over the quarter and by 1.4 percentage points over the year. The number of unemployed persons was estimated at 70,000, up 2,000 over the quarter and 12,000 over the year.
Unadjusted figures show that 60.3% of the unemployed have been unemployed for 1 year or more – up 13.7 percentage points over the year. They also estimate the unemployment rate for 18 - 24 year olds at 21.1% – up 3.3 percentage points over the year.
The seasonally adjusted number of economically inactive persons in the period January - March 2013 was estimated at 561,000. This figure has increased by 6,000 over the quarter and by 5,000 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 (22.4%) and is the highest of the twelve UK regions. Unadjusted figures estimate that 32% of the economically inactive, aged 16-64, in NI are students, 24% are looking after the family/home, 24% are sick/disabled, 13% are retired and 7% 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 (8.1%) is higher than the overall UK average rate (7.8%) and was the seventh highest rate among the twelve UK regions. The NI rate was also below the European Union (10.9%) and Republic of Ireland (14.2%) rates for February 2013. Comparable figures for the three months to February 2013 estimate the NI unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds at 21.3%, compared to a UK average rate of 18.7%.
The more recent seasonally adjusted claimant count decreased by 200 from last month’s revised total. It now stands at 64,300 (7.1% of the workforce) in April 2013. Over the year the Claimant Count in NI has increased by 2,100 (3.4%) and the workforce unemployment rate has increased by 0.2 percentage points. Revised figures indicate that there has been a fall of 600 in the claimant count over the most recent three months and that this is the first time there has been a fall in three consecutive months since August 2007.
When claimant count results were first published they indicated no change over the month to February 2013 and an increase (of 100) in March 2013. These estimates have since been revised to show decreases in each of these months to April 2013. The revisions have occurred as a result of the monthly seasonal adjustment process and are in line with NISRA’s Economic and Labour Market Statistics Branch revisions policy: http://www.detini.gov.uk/statistics_revisions_policy.pdf
Claimant Count Regional Comparison
The seasonally adjusted claimant count rate in NI (7.1%) was higher than the UK average rate (4.5%) and was the second highest rate among the twelve UK regions. This is the 37th consecutive month that NI has had the highest or second highest UK region unemployment rate, on this measure. The monthly decrease in NI claimants (0.3%) was in lower than the UK average decrease (0.5%) during the same period. The annual increase in NI claimants (3.4%) was the highest among the twelve UK regions (the annual decrease in the UK was 4.3%).
Claimant count rates for District Council Areas
Unadjusted numbers as a percentage of the resident working age population show that the highest rates at April 2013 were in Derry (8.4%), Belfast (8.0%), Strabane (7.4%) and Limavady (7.0%). Those that showed the highest percentage increase in levels over the year to April 2013 were Larne (18.3%), Magherafelt (9.0%) and Coleraine (8.3%). For further District Council data please see section 3 of the Labour Market Report.
Employment and Training Measures
Overall, there has been an increase of 13.1% (1,819 persons) to 15,754 over the year to April 2013 in the number of those claimants who are eligible for mandatory participation on Steps to Work. Steps to Work and New Deal statistics are currently accessible via the DEL web link below:
There were 176 proposed redundancies notified during the period mid April 2013 to mid May 2013. This compares to 153 proposed redundancies that were notified in the previous monthly period.
There were 181 confirmed redundancies in the month of April . Over the latest twelve month period there were a total of 3,429 confirmed redundancies, an increase of 71% from the previous year (2,009).
Over the latest twelve month period there were a total of 3,308 proposed redundancies, an increase of 2% from the previous year (3,252). Currently there are 986 outstanding redundancies (that is, proposed but not confirmed), which is 41% lower than this time last year (1,667).
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 December 2012 was 693,340. This represents a decrease (-750 jobs) from the revised figure for the previous quarter and represents an increase of 1,070 jobs over the year (see ‘Definitions’ Section for details of QES revisions).
The seasonally adjusted quarterly change consisted of an increase in Service Sector jobs (+1,040 jobs) and an increase in the Other Industries Sector (+30 jobs). However there were decreases in the Construction sector (-1,110 jobs) and in Manufacturing Industries (-710 jobs). Over the same period the public sector decreased by 750 jobs while the private sector increased by 430 jobs.
Over the year to December 2012, the public sector decreased by 0.6% (-1,300 jobs) compared to an increase of 0.5% (+2,420 jobs) in the private sector.
In the three months to February 2013, the average actual weekly hours worked in NI was 32.4 hours – higher than the UK average (31.2) for the same period. For full-time workers, in Northern Ireland, the average actual number of hours worked was 37.2 and was above that for the UK (36.6). 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 15.6 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.