Labour Market Report December 2018

Date published: 11 December 2018

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 3.9% (August-October 2018), down 0.1 percentage points over the quarter. The inactivity rate (28.5%) increased over the quarter by 0.8 percentage points and the employment rate (68.7%) decreased over the quarter by 0.7 percentage points.
Private sector employee jobs increased over the quarter (to September); public sector jobs decreased over the quarter.

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period August-October 2018 indicate that, over the quarter, the unemployment rate and the employment rate both decreased while the inactivity rate increased.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter (0.7pps) and increased over the year (0.6pps) to 68.7%. Although the quarterly and annual changes were not statistically significant, the employment rate was statistically significantly above the December-February 2013 rate of 66.1%. The latest employment rate recorded for the whole of the UK was 75.7%.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter (0.1pps) and the year (0.1pps) to 3.9% in August-October 2018. Although the recent changes were not statistically significant, the unemployment rate was significantly below rates in 2017. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK rate (4.1%), the Republic of Ireland rate (5.4%) and the EU rate (6.7%).
  • 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) increased by 0.8pps over the quarter and decreased by 0.5pps over the year to 28.5%. Whilst the recent changes in the economic inactivity rate were not statistically significant, the inactivity rate was significantly above rates in 2016.
  • Businesses reported an increase in employee jobs over the quarter and year, to a series high of 765,880 jobs in September 2018. The annual change was statistically significant and therefore likely to reflect real change. Increases were seen across the services, construction and other sectors over the quarter and year. The manufacturing sector showed no change over the quarter, but recorded an annual increase. The services sector accounted for the majority of the quarterly and annual growth in employee jobs.
  • The number of confirmed redundancies (2,643) in the most recent 12 months was 43% higher than in the previous 12 months (1,848). 
  • Full report available here

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