Quarterly Employment Survey

The QES provides short-term employee jobs estimates for NI, which are then used by the ONS to feed into the calculation of the quarterly workforce jobs estimates for the UK as a whole.

Due to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) we anticipate that there will be some changes in terms of our regular statistical production. See the COVID-19 and the production of statistics page for more information. From April 2020 and until further notice, Quarterly Employment Survey data will be published on the NISRA website at 7am, a change from the standard 9.30am release time.

Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) latest results were published 16th June 2020.

The survey date for Quarter 1 was 2nd March 2020 for Northern Ireland. This pre-dates the introduction of any COVID-19 restrictions, and the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market is therefore not fully reflected in these estimates.

Latest results

  • The number of (seasonally adjusted) employee jobs in March 2020 was estimated at 783,500. This was an increase of 3,120 jobs (0.4%) over the quarter and 7,930 jobs (1.0%) over the year. Neither the quarterly nor the annual changes in employee jobs were found to be statistically significant.
  • Manufacturing was the only broad industry sector to experience a decrease in employee jobs (seasonally adjusted) over the year of 1.4% (-1,220 jobs). This was the first annual decrease in manufacturing employee jobs since June 2013.
  • The numbers of (seasonally adjusted) employee jobs in the services (636,790 jobs) and other (24,450 jobs) sectors reached the highest levels on record in March 2020.
  • The two largest industry sections in the economy, wholesale and retail trade and human health and social work activities, accounted for a third of all employee jobs in March 2020.
  • The annualised growth rate of total employee jobs has fallen every quarter between March 2018 (2.3%) and March 2020 (1.2%).
  • Private sector jobs increased over the quarter (0.6% or 3,320 jobs) and increased over the year (1.0% or 5,540 jobs).
  • Public sector jobs decreased over the quarter (0.2% or -430 jobs) but increased over the year (1.1% or 2,350 jobs). There are now 17,080 fewer public sector jobs than the series peak in September 2009 (-7.5%).
  • In the last five years, employee jobs have increased by 8.3% (60,060 jobs) and by 13.3% (92,220 jobs) from the low in March 2012.



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