Labour Market Report March 2022

Date published: 15 March 2022

The latest labour market statistics were published today (15th March 2022) by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

Payrolled employees now higher than pre-COVID for the ninth consecutive month

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in February 2022 was 777,300, an increase of 0.5% over the month and 5.4% over the year.  This is the highest on record and the ninth consecutive month that employee numbers have been above pre-COVID levels. 
  • Earnings from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,904 in February 2022, a decrease of £35 (1.8%) over the month and an increase of £113 (6.3%) over the year. 

Lowest NI Claimant Count (Experimental Series) total since March 2020

  • In February 2022, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 39,600 (4.0% of the workforce), a decrease of 900 (2.3%) from the previous month’s revised figure.  The February claimant count is 38% below the recent peak in May 2020, and 30% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.

Low number of confirmed redundancies since the beginning of 2022

  • NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 40 redundancies occurred in February 2022.  Over the year from 1st March 2021 to 28th February 2022, 2,070 redundancies were confirmed, 64% less than in the previous year.
  • There were 210 proposed redundancies in February 2022.  This follows no, or low, proposed redundancies in each of the months between September and January 2022.  Over the year March 2021 to February 2022, 2,040 redundancies were proposed, 81% less than in the previous 12 months.

Employee jobs reach a series high in December 2021

  • The number of employee jobs in December 2021 was estimated at 782,450, reaching a series high.  This was an increase of 2,850 jobs over the quarter and 12,290 jobs over the year.  Neither the quarterly nor the annual changes in employee jobs were found to be statistically significant.  December 2021 estimates showed that employee jobs are now above the pre-pandemic December 2019 level (2,410 jobs).  
  • December 2021 marked the fourth consecutive quarterly increase in employee jobs, following four previous quarters of decline.  December 2021 estimates reported an increase within the annualised growth rate following four previous consecutive quarters of decline.
  • December 2021 employee jobs estimates reported a series high of 636,290 jobs within the services sector.
  • Quarterly increases in employee jobs were seen within the services (2,250 jobs) and construction (920 jobs) sectors to December 2021.  There were decreases within the manufacturing (290 jobs) and other industries (30 jobs) sectors over the quarter.
  • Annual increases in employee jobs were seen within the services (11,790 jobs) and manufacturing (600 jobs) sectors.  The construction and other industries sectors both experienced marginal decreases of 50 jobs over the year to December 2021.
  • Private sector jobs increased both over the quarter (700 jobs) and the year (7,660 jobs) to 563,940 jobs in December 2021.  Public sector jobs also increased over both the quarter (1,440 jobs) and the year (4,650 jobs) to 217,790 jobs in December 2021.

Labour Force Survey headline measures

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16+ who were unemployed) for the period November-January 2022 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.7%.  The unemployment rate decreased by 0.8 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and over the year.  The quarterly change was statistically significant and is likely to reflect real change.
  • The employment rate (proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work) was unchanged over the quarter and increased by 0.3pps over the year to 70.4%.  Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant.
  • The total number of weekly hours worked in NI was estimated at 26.9million, a decrease of 3.2% on the previous quarter and an increase of 4.2% over the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) increased over the quarter by 0.6pps and over the year by 0.3pps to 27.5%.  Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant.

The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available on the Labour Market Report - March 2022 page.

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