Labour Market Report February 2018

Date published: 21 February 2018

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 3.9% (October-December 2017), down 0.1 percentage points over the quarter. This was the joint lowest rate in the last 10 years. The claimant count decreased by 700 persons over the month (to January).

A small textual error was corrected at 10.00am on day of publication. LMR with corrected infographic is below.

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period October-December 2017 indicate that, over the quarter, the employment rate increased, while the unemployment rate and economic inactivity rate both decreased. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (JSA only) in Northern Ireland (NI) decreased in January 2018.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased over the quarter (0.6 pps) but decreased over the year (1.2 pps) to 68.7%.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter and the year to October-December 2017 to 3.9%, the lowest in this quarterly series since April-June 2008.
  • The equivalent UK unemployment rate decreased over the year by 0.4 and increased by 0.1 over the quarter (4.4%). The NI unemployment rate was below the European Union (7.3%) rate and Republic of Ireland (6.1%) rate for November 2017.
  • 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 28.4%, representing a decrease of 0.5pps over the quarter and an increase of 2.3pps over the year. The increase over the year was statistically significant and is likely to reflect a real change.
  • None of the reported changes in employment were statistically significant over the quarter or the year. However, there have been statistically significant changes in the longer term – the increase in the employment rate compared to April-June 2013, and from particularly low rates in 2009.
  • The number of people on the Northern Ireland claimant count (JSA only) decreased by 700 over the month to 28,400 in January 2018. These figures do not include those claimants of Universal Credit who were claiming it principally for the reason of being unemployed.
  • Full report available here

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