Labour Market Report June 2020

Date published: 16 June 2020

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates released at 7.00am today indicated that the unemployment rate for February-April 2020 (2.3%) decreased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points. The inactivity rate (26.7%) increased over the quarter by 0.8 percentage points and the employment rate (71.6%) decreased over the quarter by 0.7 percentage points. Private sector employee jobs experienced increases over the quarter (0.6% or 3,320 jobs) and over the year (1.0% or 5,540 jobs) to March 2020.

Key Points


  • The number of people on the NI claimant count (experimental) increased by 5,700 over the month to 65,200 in May 2020 (reference date 14th May). 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.
  • There were 342 proposed redundancies in May 2020 and 1,427 proposed between 1st and 15th June. The department was notified of 134 confirmed redundancies in May 2020, taking the number of confirmed redundancies to 2,663 in 12 months to end of May; higher than the previous 12 months (2,503).
  • Earnings from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,701 in the three months to April 2020, an increase of 0.5% on the previous three months and an increase of 1.9% from the same time last year.
  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period February-April 2020 cover periods before and during lockdown. The estimates indicate that, over the quarter, the unemployment and employment rates decreased and the economic inactivity rate increased.
  • The NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter (0.1pps) and over the year (0.8pps) to the joint lowest rate on record (2.3%) in February-April 2020. The annual change was statistically significant, i.e. the recorded change exceeded the variability expected from a survey of this size and was likely to reflect real change. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK rate (3.9%), the Republic of Ireland rate (5.4%) and the EU (27) rate (6.6%).
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter (0.7pps) and increased over the year (0.3pps) to 71.6%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the employment rate was significantly above rates in late 2017. The latest employment rate recorded for the whole of the UK was 76.4%.
  • 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 (0.8pps) and over the year (0.3pps) to 26.7%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the economic inactivity rate was significantly below rates in 2010. The NI economic inactivity rate remained above the UK rate (20.5%).
  • The total number of seasonally adjusted employee jobs in March 2020 (reference date 2nd March) was estimated at a record high of 783,500. This was an increase of 3,120 jobs over the quarter and 7,930 jobs over the year. Neither the quarterly nor the annual changes in employee jobs were statistically significant.
  • The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available on the Labour Market Report - June 2020 page

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