Labour Market Report December 2019

Date published: 17 December 2019

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate for August-October 2019 (2.3%) decreased over the quarter by 0.6 percentage points to a record low. The inactivity rate (25.9%) increased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points and the employment rate (72.4%) increased over the quarter by 0.4 percentage points. Private sector employee jobs increased over the quarter (to September) to their highest level on record; public sector jobs also increased over the quarter.

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period August-October 2019 indicate that, over the quarter, the unemployment rate decreased while the employment and economic inactivity rates increased.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter (0.6pps) and over the year (1.3pps) to the lowest rate on record (2.3%) in August-October 2019. The annual change was statistically significant. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK rate (3.8%), the Republic of Ireland rate (5.3%) and the EU rate (6.3%).
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased over the quarter (0.4pps) and the year (2.9pps) to the highest rate on record (72.4%). The annual change was statistically significant. The latest employment rate recorded for the whole of the UK was 76.2%.
  • 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 0.1pps over the quarter and decreased by 2.0pps over the year to one of the lowest rates on record (25.9%). Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the economic inactivity rate was significantly below rates in late 2017. The NI economic inactivity rate remained above the UK rate (20.8%).
  • The total number of (seasonally adjusted) employee jobs in September 2019 was estimated at a record high of 782,670. This was an increase of 4,210 jobs over the quarter and 15,540 jobs over the year. The annual change in employee jobs was statistically significant i.e. the recorded change exceeded the variability expected from a survey of this size and was likely to reflect real change.
  • There were 255 proposed redundancies and 89 confirmed redundancies notified to the Department in November 2019. The number of confirmed redundancies (3,089) in the most recent 12 months was higher than the previous 12 months (2,644).
  • The full report is available on the Labour Market Report - December 2019 page

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