Labour Market Report March 2024

Date published: 26 March 2024

Today’s release updates the Labour Market Report published on Tuesday 12th March to now include Labour Force Survey results. The report also includes the previously published updates from HMRC Real Time Information data, Quarterly Employment Survey data, Claimant Count data, and NI redundancy data.

Labour Market Statistics

An issue was detected in the ONS’s processing of the weights for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data for Northern Ireland for the November 2023 to January 2024 period, which was due for publication on 12 March 2024. As a consequence, ONS did not publish regional LFS figures as part of their March 2024 release on the 12th March 2024. ONS aim to publish LFS regional data in their April 2024 release. The UK figures for the November 2023 to January 2024 period may be subject to revision. Further information is available in this statement from ONS.

ONS have investigated and corrected the weighting issue in the LFS data for Northern Ireland for the November 2023 to January 2024 period. The data has been quality assured by NISRA. NISRA’s data collection for the November 2023 to January 2024 period is unaffected: the quality and response rates in the data collections are similar to recent periods. NISRA is continuing to work with ONS to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of the issue.

Accordingly, users are advised that NISRA have published the Northern Ireland LFS results for November 2023 to January 2024 today as planned having previously been announced on Tuesday 19th March 2024.

Labour Force Survey headline measures

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period November-January 2024 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.3%. This was an increase of 0.1 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and was unchanged from the same period last year. 
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased by 0.5pps over both the quarter and the year to 71.3%.
  • The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (27.5 million) decreased by 1.8% over the quarter and by 0.3% 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) decreased by 0.7pps over the quarter and by 0.5pps over the year to 27.0%.

Payrolled employees and earnings both increased over the month

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in February 2024 was 801,100, a 0.1% increase over the month and a 1.9% increase over the year.
  • Earnings data from HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £2,144 in February 2024, an increase of £8 (0.4%) over the month and £92 (4.5%) over the year. 
  • The estimates from HMRC PAYE for the latest period are based on early data and, therefore, are more likely to be subject to larger revisions.

Claimant Count Rate remains relatively stable since April 2022

  • In February 2024, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 36,400 (3.8% of the workforce), an increase of 2.1% from the previous month’s revised figure.  The February 2024 claimant count remains 22.0% 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 February 2024.  Over the year March 2023 to February 2024, 2,430 redundancies were confirmed, which was over two and a half times the figure for the previous year (940). 
  • There were 360 proposed redundancies in February 2024, taking the annual total to 3,920, which was nearly double the previous year (2,180).

Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) headline measures

  • Businesses reported that employee jobs decreased over the quarter (-0.6%) and increased over the year (+0.8%) to 817,780 jobs in December 2023.

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

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