Labour Market Report May 2018

Date published: 15 May 2018

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 3.1% (January-March 2018), down 0.8 percentage points over the quarter. The inactivity rate decreased over the quarter to 28.0% while the employment rate increased to 69.7%.

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period January-March 2018 indicate that, over the quarter, the employment rate increased, while the unemployment rate and economic inactivity rate both decreased. The number of people on the Northern Ireland claimant count (experimental) increased in April 2018.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased over the quarter (1.0 pps) and the year (1.3 pps) to 69.7%. Although the quarterly and annual change is not statistically significant, the most recent employment rate is statistically significantly above employment rates estimated in 2013.  The latest employment rate recorded for the whole of the UK (75.6%) is the highest on record.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter and the year to 3.1% in January-March 2018, the lowest rate on record. The decrease over the year of 2.1 percentage points is statistically significant and is likely to reflect real change.
  • The equivalent UK unemployment rate (4.2%) decreased over the year by 0.4 pps and decreased by 0.2 pps over the quarter. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK unemployment rate, and also below the European Union (7.1%) rate (February 2018) and Republic of Ireland (6.1%) rate (March 2018).
  • 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) was 28.0%, representing a decrease of 0.4 pps over the quarter and an increase of 0.3 pps over the year. Although neither change was statistically significant the January-March 2018 rate is statistically significantly lower than the 2009 rates.
  • The number of people on the NI claimant count (experimental) increased by 200 over the month to 29,000 in April 2018. Please note these figures include Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimants and those claimants of Universal Credit who were claiming it principally for the reason of being unemployed.
  • Full report available here

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