Labour Market Report February 2019

Date published: 19 February 2019

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 3.8% (October-December 2018); this rate was unchanged over the quarter. The inactivity rate (26.8%) decreased over the quarter and the employment rate (70.3%) increased over the quarter.

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period October-December 2018 indicatethat over the quarter, the unemployment rate was unchanged while the employment rate increasedand the inactivity rate decreased.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) was unchanged over the quarter anddecreased over the year by 0.3pps to 3.8% in October-December 2018. Although the recentchanges were not statistically significant, the unemployment rate was significantly below rates in2017. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK rate (4.0%), the Republic of Ireland rate (5.3%)and the EU rate (6.7%).
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased over the quarter(0.9pps) and increased over the year (1.7pps) to a record high of 70.3%. Although the quarterly andannual changes were not statistically significant, the employment rate was statistically significantlyabove rates in 2015. The latest employment rate recorded for the whole of the UK was 75.8%.
  • The NI economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were not workingand not seeking or available to work) decreased by 0.9pps over the quarter and 1.6pps over theyear to 26.8%. Whilst the recent changes in the economic inactivity rate were not statisticallysignificant, the inactivity rate was significantly below rates in 2010.
  • The number of confirmed redundancies (2,575) in the most recent 12 months was 50% higher thanin the previous 12 months (1,712).
  • Full report available here

There have been revisions to estimates derived from the Labour Force Survey (including estimates of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity) back to June - August 2011, resulting from using the latest population estimates and from a review of the seasonal adjustment process. Estimates are now calculated using 2016 based population projections and the 2017 mid-year population estimates. 
Additionally, estimates from November-January 2018 include a boost to the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey sample. 

There have been revisions to the experimental Claimant Count, following an update to the methodology used to identify appropriate Universal Credit cases, and subsequent seasonal adjustment. Seasonally adjusted data has been revised back to January 2016 and non-adjusted data revised back to September 2017.  The impact of these revisions were small.

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