Labour Force Survey

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a quarterly sample survey carried out by interviewing people about their personal circumstances and work. If you have been selected to take part in the survey please visit the selected for a Household Survey page to securely enter your contact details.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), changes have been made to our regular statistical production. See the COVID-19 and the production of statistics page for more information. From April all LFS interviews were conducted by telephone and the Labour Market Report has been published on the NISRA website at 7am, a change from the standard 9.30am release time.

The latest results from the Labour Force Survey, published 26th January 2021.

                                                          Labour Market Structure

Latest results

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16+ who were unemployed) for the period September-November 2020 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 3.2%. The unemployment rate decreased over the quarter by 0.5 percentage points (pps) and increased by 0.9pps over the year. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the unemployment rate was significantly above rates at the beginning of 2020.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter by 0.1pps and over the year by 2.0pps to 70.6%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the employment rate remains significantly above rates in 2017.
  • The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) increased over the quarter by 0.4pps and over the year by 1.3pps to 27.0%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the economic inactivity rate remains significantly below rates in 2010.
  • Put into the context of the UK, NI had the lowest unemployment rate, the lowest employment rate and the highest economic inactivity rate of all the UK regions.

Labour Market Report


Monthly tables are published along with the Labour Market Report. They include headline estimates for employment, unemployment and economic inactivity (seasonally adjusted and unadjusted), labour market status by age, reasons for inactivity, employment categories, hours of work and international comparisons.

Quarterly tables include information on graduates, education and training, disability and the labour market, NEET and working and workless households.

The monthly labour market tables in a historical series

The work quality tables for 19/20 include an overview of six work quality indicators, including the first release of three work quality indicators; meaningful work, career progression and involvement in decision making.

Work quality tables for 2019 include under employment, over employment, permanent employment and temporary employment and job satisfaction.

The quarterly supplement was discontinued in 2018 and has been replaced with the quarterly tables (above).

Tables published with the annual report in 2020 relating to 2019 data also includes tables for ODP indicators 14, 16, 17, 32, 33 and 34.

Tables relating to ODP indicators 14, 16, 17, 32, 33 and 34


COVID-19 analysis

Regional tables

Historical data

Background information

User requested data

Labour market statistics are published regularly throughout the year. We also produce bespoke tables if users request data that are not already available.

    A list of published bespoke tables is available from the User requested data page

    Information on user events and consultations is available on the Labour Market Statistics User Engagement page.

    ELMS publication schedule

    Upcoming publication dates from the Economic and Labour Market Statistics Branch, including all Labour Force Survey publications can be found via the publication schedule page

    Selected for the Labour Force Survey

    If you have been selected to take part in the Labour Force Survey please provide us with a telephone number so that we can reach you.

    Due to current government advice regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) we are unable to send an interviewer in person to your address to carry out this study. We can carry out the study over the telephone instead.

    Please click on the secure link below to enter your contact details and we will telephone you.

    Mailing list

    If you would like to be added to a mailing list and receive the latest publications on the day they publish please email: with the title of the publications you would like to receive.