Labour Market Report January 2024

Date published: 16 January 2024

The latest labour market statistics were published today (16th January 2024) by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

Payrolled employees decreased over the month, monthly earnings increased

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in December 2023 was 795,900, a 0.1% decrease over the month and a 1.5% increase over the year.
  • When considering employees by age, the 25-34 age group is the only group yet to return to pre-COVID levels, remaining 0.3% below March 2020 numbers.
  • Earnings data from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £2,160 in December 2023, an increase of £76 (3.6%) over the month and £150 (7.5%) over the year. 
  • In incorporating the latest RTI submissions to HMRC into these statistics we have observed unusual patterns in submissions from certain schemes.  This affects pay growth estimates for November and December in Northern Ireland.  Estimates for Northern Ireland may be more likely to see revisions in future releases if the tax data for these months are later amended.

Claimant Count Rate remains relatively stable since April 2022

  • In December 2023, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 36,300 (3.7% of the workforce), an increase of 0.3% from the previous month’s revised figure.  The December 2023 claimant count remains 21.6% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.

Proposed and Confirmed redundancies considerably higher than the previous year

  • NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 60 redundancies occurred in December 2023.  Over 2023, 2,570 redundancies were confirmed, which was three and a half times the figure for the previous year (730). 
  • In 2023, there were 4,190 proposed redundancies, over two and a half times the figure for 2022 (1,570).

Labour Force Survey employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity rates show changes in a favourable direction over the year

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people age 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period September-November 2023 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.4%.  This was an increase of 0.1 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and a decrease of 0.4pps from the same period last year. 
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased by 0.4pps over the quarter and by 1.1pps over the year to 72.4%.
  • The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (29.1 million) increased by 5.0% over the quarter and by 2.1% over the year.  This is the highest total since the onset of the pandemic.
  • The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) decreased by 0.6pps over the quarter and by 0.8pps over the year to 25.8%.

The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available on the Labour Market Report - January 2024 page.

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