Labour Market Report January 2018

Date published: 24 January 2018


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 3.8% (September - November 2017), down 0.9 percentage points over the quarter. This was the lowest rate in the last 10 years. The claimant count increased by 100 persons over the month (to December).

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period September - November 2017 indicate that, over the quarter, the economic inactivity rate and employment rate increased, while the unemployment rate decreased. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in Northern Ireland (NI) increased in December 2017.
  • 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 (0.3 pps) to 69.0%.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter and the year to September - November 2017 to 3.8%, the lowest rate recorded since June - August 2007.  These decreases were both statistically significant and are likely to reflect a real change.
  • The equivalent UK unemployment rate decreased over the year yet remained steady over the quarter (at 4.3%), the lowest rate recorded since the series began (joint with June - August 2017). The NI unemployment rate was below the European Union (7.4%) rate and Republic of Ireland (6.0%) rate for October 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 28.2%, representing an increase of 0.1pps over the quarter and 1.7pps over the year. The increases over the quarter and the year were not statistically significant.
  • None of the reported changes in employment or inactivity 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 December - February 2013 and the decrease of economic inactivity from June - August 2009.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (from NI Jobs and Benefits Offices) increased by 100 over the month to 29,200 in December 2017. This is the 1st monthly increase since January 2013.
  • Full report available here

Share this page