Labour Market Report March 2020

Date published: 17 March 2020

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate for November-January 2020 (2.4%) increased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points. The inactivity rate (25.9%) was unchanged over the quarter and the employment rate (72.3%) decreased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points.

Key Points

  • The NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16+ who were unemployed) for the period November-January 2020 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.4%, one of the lowest rates on record. The unemployment rate increased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points (pps) from the lowest rate on record and decreased by 1.1pps over the year. The annual change was statistically significant, i.e. the recorded change exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and was likely to reflect real change.
  • The NI unemployment rate (2.4%) was below the UK rate (3.9%), the European Union (28) rate (6.2%) for December 2019 and the Republic of Ireland rate (4.8%) for December 2019.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter by 0.1pps and increased over the year by 1.3pps to 72.3%, one of the highest rates on record. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the employment rate was significantly above rates in 2018.
  • The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) was unchanged over the quarter and decreased over the year by 0.5pps to one of the lowest rates on record (25.9%). Although the annual change was not statistically significant, the economic inactivity rate was significantly below rates in 2017.
  • The number of confirmed redundancies (3,045) in the most recent 12 months was 29% higher than in the previous 12 months (2,359). NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 23 redundancies took place in February 2020.
  • A total of 99 redundancies were proposed in February 2020, a decrease on the previous month’s total of 424.
  • The full report is available on the Labour Market Report - March 2020 page

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