Causeway Chronicle

Labour Market Statistics 

Today’s release updates the Labour Market Report published on Tuesday 12th March to now include Labour Force Survey results. The report also includes the previously published updates from HMRC Real Time Information data, Quarterly Employment Survey data, Claimant Count data and NI redundancy data.

An issue was detected in the ONS’s processing of the weights for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data for Northern Ireland for the November 2023 to January 2024 period, which was due for publication on 12 March 2024. As a consequence, ONS did not publish regional LFS figures as part of their March 2024 release on the 12th March 2024. ONS aim to publish LFS regional data in their April 2024 release. The UK figures for the November 2023 to January 2024 period may be subject to revision. Further information is available in this statement from ONS.

ONS have investigated and corrected the weighting issue in the LFS data for Northern Ireland for the November 2023 to January 2024 period. The data has been quality assured by NISRA. NISRA’s data collection for the November 2023 to January 2024 period is unaffected: the quality and response rates in the data collections are similar to recent periods. NISRA is continuing to work with ONS to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of the issue.

Accordingly, users are advised that NISRA have published the Northern Ireland LFS results for November 2023 to January 2024 today as planned having previously been announced on Tuesday 19th March 2024.

Labour Force Survey headline measures

  • 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 2024 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.3%. This was an increase of 0.1 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and was unchanged from the same period last year. 
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased by 0.5pps over both the quarter and the year to 71.3%.
  • The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (27.5 million) decreased by 1.8% over the quarter and by 0.3% 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 0.7pps over the quarter and by 0.5pps over the year to 27.0%.

The following sections were published on the 12th March but remain for context:

Payrolled employees and earnings both increased over the month

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in February 2024 was 801,100, a 0.1% increase over the month and a 1.9% increase over the year.
  • Earnings data from HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £2,144 in February 2024, an increase of £8 (0.4%) over the month and £92 (4.5%) over the year. 
  • The estimates from HMRC PAYE for the latest period, are based on early data and, therefore, are more likely to be subject to larger revisions.

Claimant Count Rate remains relatively stable since April 2022

  • In February 2024, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 36,400 (3.8% of the workforce), an increase of 2.1% from the previous month’s revised figure.  The February 2024 claimant count remains 22.0% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.

Proposed and Confirmed redundancies considerably higher than the previous year

  • NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 60 redundancies occurred in February 2024.  Over the year March 2023 to February 2024, 2,430 redundancies were confirmed, which was over two and a half times the figure for the previous year (940). 
  • There were 360 proposed redundancies in February 2024, taking the annual total to 3,920, which was nearly double the previous year (2,180).

Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) headline measures 

  • Businesses reported that employee jobs decreased over the quarter (-0.6%) and increased over the year (+0.8%) to 817,780 jobs in December 2023.
  • The latest Labour Market release shows that over the year the Labour Force Survey employment and economic inactivity rates have improved, with the unemployment rate remaining unchanged. In addition, both payrolled employee numbers and earnings have increased over the year, while employee jobs decreased in December 2023 following ten consecutive quarterly increases.
  • Households reported, via the Labour Force Survey (LFS), over the year to November-January 2024, a 0.5pps increase in the employment rate, to 71.3%, with a 0.5pps decrease in the economic inactivity rate (to 27%). The unemployment rate has remained at 2.3% over the year to November-January 2024. None of these annual changes were statistically significant.
  • The latest HMRC payroll data shows that payrolled employee numbers increased by 0.1% over the month and by 1.9% over the year. Payrolled earnings increased by 0.4% over the month and were 4.5% higher than February 2023.
  • Businesses reported, via the Quarterly Employment Survey, that employee jobs in NI decreased over the quarter but increased over the year to 817,780 jobs in December 2023. Quarterly increases in employee jobs were seen within the construction industry. Other industries jobs remained stable with only marginal change over the quarter to December 2023. Employee jobs decreased over the quarter within the services and manufacturing industries. There were increases in employee jobs over the year within the construction, services and other industries sectors to December 2023.  Employee jobs within the manufacturing sector decreased marginally over the year.
  • In February 2024, the Department was notified of 60 confirmed redundancies, bringing the rolling twelve-month total of confirmed redundancies to 2,430. This was over two and a half times the figure for the previous year (940). There were also 360 proposed redundancies reported to the Department in February 2024, bringing the annual total of proposed redundancies to 3,920, almost double the figure for the previous year (2,180). Although the rolling twelve-month totals of proposed and confirmed redundancies are considerably higher than the previous year, they are both similar to the levels seen in the decade preceding the pandemic.
  • Finally, there was an increase of 2.1% in the claimant count estimate over the month to February 2024 from the revised figure for January 2024. The claimant count rate at February 2024 was 3.8% – a slight increase from the rate in January 2024 (3.7%) and the twenty third consecutive month that the Claimant Count rate has been within the range 3.6% to 3.8%.
Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle