Labour Market Report September 2020

Date published: 15 September 2020

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates released at 7.00am today indicated that the unemployment rate for May-July 2020 (2.9%) increased over the quarter by 0.6 percentage points. The inactivity rate (26.3%) decreased over the quarter by 0.4 percentage points and the employment rate (71.5%) decreased over the quarter by 0.1 percentage points. Employee jobs decreased marginally over the quarter to June 2020 following a peak in March; this is the first quarterly decline since December 2015.

Key Points

  • The number of people on the NI claimant count (experimental) increased by 800 over the month to 62,700 in August 2020. This August count is more than double the number recorded in March. The experimental Claimant Count includes Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimants and those claimants of Universal Credit who were claiming principally for the reason of being unemployed.
  • There were 700 proposed redundancies in August 2020 and 880 proposed between 1st and 14th September. From 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020, 9,160 redundancies were proposed, the highest annual total since records began. The department was notified of 820 confirmed redundancies in August 2020, taking the number of confirmed redundancies to 3,880 in the 12 months to the end of August; compared to 1,780 the previous year.
  • Earnings from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,706 in the three months to July 2020, an increase of 0.3% on the previous three months and 1.8% from the same time last year.
  • The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates relate to May-July 2020. The estimates indicate that, over the quarter, the unemployment rate increased and the employment and economic inactivity rates decreased.
  • The NI unemployment rate (16+) increased over the quarter (0.6pps) to 2.9% in May-July 2020 and was unchanged over the year. The quarterly change was statistically significant. The NI unemployment rate was below the UK rate (4.1%), the Republic of Ireland rate (5.3%) and the EU (27) rate (6.7%).
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter (0.1pps) and over the year (0.5pps) to 71.5%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the employment rate was significantly above rates in 2017. The latest employment rate recorded for the whole of the UK was 76.5%.
  • 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) decreased over the quarter (0.4pps) and increased over the year (0.4pps) to 26.3%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the economic inactivity rate was significantly below rates in 2017. The NI economic inactivity rate remained above the UK rate (20.2%).
  • The total number of seasonally adjusted employee jobs in June 2020 was estimated at 779,880. This was a decrease of 1,540 jobs over the quarter, which is the first quarterly decrease since December 2015. There was an increase of 4,570 jobs over the year, but the rate of annual growth has generally been slowing since the highest rate recorded in December 2017. Neither the quarterly nor the annual changes in employee jobs were statistically significant
  • The statistical bulletin and associated tables are available on the Labour Market Report - September 2020 page

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