Labour Market Report April 2018

Date published: 17 April 2018

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 3.5% (December - February 2018), down 0.3 percentage points over the quarter. The claimant count decreased over the month (to March).

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period December - February 2018 indicate that, over the quarter, the employment rate increased, while the unemployment rate and economic inactivity rate both decreased. The number of people on the Northern Ireland claimant count (experimental) decreased in March 2018.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased over the quarter (0.5 pps) and the year (0.8 pps) to 69.5%. Although the quarterly and annual change is not statistically significant, the most recent employment rate is statistically significantly above employment rates estimated in 2010.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter and the year to 3.5% in December - February 2018. The decrease over the year of 1.8 percentage points is statistically significant and is likely to reflect real change.
  • The equivalent UK unemployment rate (4.2%) decreased over the year by 0.4 pps and decreased by 0.1 pps over the quarter. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK unemployment rate this period, and also below the European Union (7.3%) rate and Republic of Ireland (6.1%) rate for January 2018.
  • The NI economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) was 27.9%, representing a decrease of 0.3 pps over the quarter and an increase of 0.5 pps over the year. Although neither change was statistically significant the December-February 2018 rate is statistically significantly lower than the 2009 rates.
  • The number of people on the NI claimant count (experimental) decreased by 100 over the month to 28,700 in March 2018. Please note these figures include Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimants and those claimants of Universal Credit who were claiming it principally for the reason of being unemployed.
  • Full report available here

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