The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.
Statistical Press Release
Payrolled employees and monthly earnings recorded an increase over the month
Claimant Count Rate remains constant for tenth consecutive month
- In February 2023, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 35,600, a decrease of 0.1% from the previous month's revised figure and remains 3.8% of the workforce for the tenth consecutive month. The February claimant count remains higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020 by 19.5%.
Number of confirmed redundancies remains low
Statistically significant annual changes in Labour Force Survey (LFS) employment and economic inactivity rates
- The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period November-January 2023 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.4%. This was a decrease of 0.4 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and a decrease of 0.8pps over the year.
- The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased by 0.5pps over the quarter and increased by 3.1pps over the year to 71.8%. The annual change was statistically significant.
- The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (27.7 million) increased by 0.1% over the quarter and increased by 5.9% over the year.
- The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) decreased by 0.3pps over the quarter and by 2.5pps over the year to 26.4%. The annual change was statistically significant.
Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) headline measures
- Businesses reported that employee jobs in NI increased over both the quarter (0.6%) and the year (3.5%) to 810,210 jobs in December 2022 to reach a series high. The annual change was statistically significant.
- The latest labour market release shows improvements, with payrolled employee numbers and earnings having both increased over the year, whilst the unemployment rate has returned to its pre-pandemic position and employee jobs reached a record high. Measures of total employment (e.g. employment rate and hours worked), and economic inactivity have not yet returned to their pre-pandemic position but continue to show improvement.
- The latest HMRC payroll data shows that payrolled employee numbers increased by 0.4% over the month and 2.2% over the year. Payrolled earnings also increased over the month, by 0.5%, and 7.0% over the year.
- Businesses reported, via the Quarterly Employment Survey, that employee jobs in NI increased over both the quarter and the year to 810,210 jobs in December 2022, to reach a series high. The quarterly and annual increases in employee jobs in December 2022 were largely driven by the services industry sector. The construction, manufacturing and other sectors also reported an increase over the year.
- Further positive results were seen with households reporting, via the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a statistically significant increase in the employment rate over the year to November-January 2023 to 71.8%. The economic inactivity rate was 26.4% for November-January 2023, a statistically significant decrease over the year. The unemployment rate also decreased over the year to November-January 2023 and is now 2.4%, the same as the pre-pandemic rate for November-January 2020.
- The employment rate remains 0.5pps below the pre-pandemic level recorded in November-January 2020, whilst the economic inactivity rate remains 0.5pps above the pre-pandemic rate. The total number of hours worked in November-January 2023 was 3.9% below the pre-pandemic position recorded in November-January 2020.
- In addition, the claimant count estimate decreased slightly over the month to February 2023 from the revised estimate for January 2023. The claimant count rate remains at 3.8% for the tenth consecutive month, dating back to May 2022.
- Finally, there were 20 redundancies confirmed to the Department in February 2023, taking the rolling twelve-month total to 940. This is the fifth consecutive month that the rolling twelve-month confirmed redundancy total was under 1,000. There were 440 proposed redundancies notified to the Department in February 2023, bringing the rolling twelve-month proposed redundancies total to 2,180. This was an increase when compared to recent rolling twelve-month totals, and the highest total reported since April 2022, but is still well below the long-term trend.