Labour Market Report November 2017

Date published: 15 November 2017


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 4.0% (July - September 2017), the lowest rate since 2008, down 1.2 percentage points over the quarter; the claimant count fell by 100 persons over the month (to October).

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period July - September 2017 indicate that over the quarter, the economic inactivity rate increased, while the unemployment rate and the employment rate both decreased. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in Northern Ireland (NI) decreased in October 2017.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter (1.0 pps) and over the year (1.7 pps) to 68.1%.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter and the year to July - September 2017 to 4.0%. These decreases were both statistically significant and are likely to reflect a real change.
  • The equivalent UK unemployment rate was also down over the quarter and over the year to 4.3%. This is the first quarter since July – September 2013 that the NI unemployment rate has been below the UK. The NI unemployment rate was below the European Union (7.6%) rate and Republic of Ireland (6.3%) rate for August 2017.
  • 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 28.9%, representing an increase of 2.0 pps over the quarter and 3.0 pps over the year. These increases were both statistically significant and are likely to reflect a real change.
  • None of the reported changes in employment were statistically significant over the quarter or the year. However, there have been statistically significant changes in the longer term – the increase in the employment rate compared to July - September 2009.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (from NI Jobs and Benefits Offices) decreased by 100 over the month to 29,300 in October 2017. This is the 20th consecutive monthly decrease.
  • The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings showed that median gross earnings for full-time workers in April 2017 increased by 1.5% over the year to £501 per week.  When adjusted for inflation earnings decreased by 1.0%.
  • Full report available here

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