Labour Market Report October 2023

Date published: 24 October 2023

Today's release updates the Labour Market Report published on Tuesday 17th October, which contained HMRC Real Time Information data and redundancy data only, to now include Labour Force Survey and Claimant Count results. For further information, please see below.

Labour Market Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has taken the decision to not publish the unadjusted June to August 2023 LFS data today, explaining the reason for their decision in this statement.  Instead, the ONS will publish a new series using additional data sources to produce adjusted levels and rates for employment, unemployment and inactivity for the latest two 3-monthly periods (May to July 2023 and June to August 2023) at a UK level only.

Response rates to the Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey (LFS) continue to be robust and NISRA considers that the survey in Northern Ireland continues to provide the best possible indicators for the local labour market.  Accordingly, NISRA published the Northern Ireland LFS results for June to August 2023 today as planned and previously announced on Friday 13th October.

Labour Force Survey employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity rates show little change over the year

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people age 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period June-August 2023 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.3%.  This was a decrease of 0.2 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and a decrease of 0.7pps over the year.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) was unchanged over the quarter and increased by 2.1pps over the year to 72.0%.
  • The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (27.7 million) decreased by 3.1% over the quarter and increased by 3.9% 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 by 0.3pps over the quarter and decreased by 1.4pps over the year to 26.4%.

Claimant Count Rate remains relatively constant over previous year

  • In September 2023, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 37,800 (3.9% of the workforce), an increase of 3.1% from the previous month’s revised figure.  The September 2023 claimant count remains 26.5% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.

For context, the Labour Market release will also contain the key estimates of HMRC PAYE and redundancy statistics that were released on the 17th October, listed below.

Payrolled employees increase over the month, while monthly earnings remain unchanged

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in September 2023 was 793,700, a 0.3% increase over the month and a 1.7% increase over the year.
  • When considering employees by age, the 25-34 age group is the only group yet to return to pre-COVID levels, remaining 0.3% below March 2020 numbers.
  • Earnings data from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £2,097 in September 2023, unchanged over the month and an increase of £132 (6.7%) over the year. 

Proposed redundancies over three times the total for previous year

  • NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 420 redundancies occurred in September 2023.  Over the year October 2022 to September 2023, 1,810 redundancies were confirmed, 64.0% more than in the previous 12 months (1,100). 
  • There were 170 proposed redundancies in September 2023, taking the annual total to 4,390, over three times the total for the previous year (1,410).

The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available on the Labour Market Report - October 2023 page.

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