Labour Market Report February 2021

Date published: 23 February 2021

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates released at 7.00am today indicated that the unemployment rate for October-December 2020 (3.6%) was unchanged over the quarter. The economic inactivity rate (28.0%) increased over the quarter by 1.2 percentage points and the employment rate (69.4%) decreased over the quarter by 1.1 percentage points.

Key Points

  • The number of people on the NI claimant count (experimental) decreased over the month to 56,700 in January 2021. This is the eighth consecutive monthly decrease since the peak in May 2020. The experimental Claimant Count includes Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimants and those claimants of Universal Credit who were claiming principally for the reason of being unemployed.
  • From 1st February 2020 to 31st January 2021, 10,640 redundancies were proposed, more than double the previous 12 months. The department was notified of 190 confirmed redundancies in January 2021.
  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in December 2020 was 742,900, an increase of 0.3% over the month and a decrease 0.9% over the year. The flash estimate for January 2021 shows a further increase of 0.3% on December’s figure to 745,200.
  • Earnings from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,789 in December 2020, an increase of 0.7% over the month and 6.9% over the year. The flash estimate for January 2021 shows a decrease of 0.7% increase in earnings from December’s figure.
  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates relate to October-December 2020 and indicate that, over the quarter, the employment rate decreased, the economic inactivity rate increased and the unemployment rate was unchanged.
  • The NI unemployment rate (16+) was unchanged over the quarter and increased over the year (1.2pps) to 3.6% in October-December 2020. The annual change was statistically significant. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK rate (5.1%).
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter (1.1pps) and the year (3.0pps) to 69.4%. The annual change was statistically significant. The latest employment rate recorded for the whole of the UK was 75.0%.
  • 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 over the quarter (1.2pps) and the year (2.1pps) to 28.0%. The economic inactivity rate was similar to rates over the last ten years but significantly below peak rates in 2009. The NI economic inactivity rate remained above the UK rate (20.9%).
  • The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available on the Labour Market Report - February 2021 page

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