Labour Market Report October 2017

Date published: 18 October 2017


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) results released at 9.30am today indicated that the unemployment rate was 4.7% (June - August 2017), the lowest rate since September – November 2008, down 0.5 percentage points over the quarter; the claimant count fell by 500 persons over the month (to September).

Key Points

  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period June - August 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 September 2017.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter (0.3 pps) and over the year (1.6pps) to 68.4%.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased over the quarter and the year to June – August 2017 to 4.7%. The equivalent UK unemployment rate was down over the quarter and over the year to 4.3%.
  • The NI unemployment rate was below the European Union (7.7%) rate and Republic of Ireland (6.4%) rate for July 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 28.1%, representing an increase of 0.7 pps over the quarter and 2.3 pps over the year. The increase over the year (but not over the quarter) was statistically significant and is likely to reflect a real change albeit from a record low. The June - August 2017 inactivity rate is similar to the rate last reported in June – August 2013.
  • None of the reported changes in employment or unemployment were statistically significant over the quarter or the year. However, there have been statistically significant changes in the medium and longer term – the increase in the employment rate compared to September - November 2010; and the decrease in the unemployment rate compared to March - May 2014.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (from NI Jobs and Benefits Offices) decreased by 500 over the month to 29,200 in September 2017. This is the 19th consecutive monthly decrease.
  • Full report available here

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