Belfast Telegraph

Statistical Press Release – latest labour market figures 

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

A National Statistics press release, detailing the latest labour market figures has been published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA).

The labour market press release can be accessed via http://www.detini.gov.uk/deti-stats-index/stats-labour-market.htm

Main Results:

The superscript numbers throughout the bullet points refer to the relevant end notes.

Labour Force Survey1-3 – Unemployment

· The Northern Ireland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, as measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS), was estimated at 6.9% for the period May - July 2013. This is down 0.9 percentage points from the rate recorded in the previous quarter (7.8%) and was down 1.2 percentage points from the rate recorded one year ago (8.2%). 

· The Northern Ireland unemployment rate was below the UK average rate (7.7%) which is down 0.1 percentage points over the quarter and 0.4 percentage points over the year. The NI rate was also lower than the European Union (10.9%) and Republic of Ireland (13.5%) rates for June 2013.

· Unadjusted LFS estimates for May - July 2013 show that 55.9% of those unemployed in Northern Ireland have been unemployed for one year or more. This is up 10.4 percentage points from one year ago. They also record the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds at 18.8% - down 4.7 percentage points over the year.

· At the time of production, comparable figures for the three months April - June 2013 estimated the NI unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds at 20.3%, compared to the UK average rate of 19.0%. 

· Please note the LFS is a sample survey with an associated degree of sampling error. The Northern Ireland LFS unemployment rate (6.9%) had a statistical margin of error of +/- 1.3% for May - July 2013.

Claimant Count Unemployment4-5

· The seasonally adjusted number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 62,200 in August 2013 – down 300 from the revised figure for the previous month. This is the seventh consecutive month in which there has been a fall in this measure of unemployment (2,700 over the period).

· The Northern Ireland claimant count rate (6.9%) in August 2013 was the highest among the twelve UK regions – the UK rate was 4.2%. This is now the 41st consecutive month that NI has had the highest or second highest UK regional unemployment rate, on this measure. 

· The latest monthly decrease in Northern Ireland claimants (0.5%) was lower than the UK decrease (2.3%). Over the year, the Northern Ireland claimant count has decreased by 1.7% (1,100), compared to a decrease of 10.7% in the UK. The annual decrease in Northern Ireland was the lowest of the 12 UK regions.

Quarterly Employment Survey6– Employee Jobs

· Seasonal adjusted estimates from the Quarterly Employment Survey showed that there were 698,390 employee jobs in June 2013. This represented an increase +3,240 jobs (+0.5%) over the quarter and an annual increase of +5,230 jobs (+0.8%). Revised figures indicate that there has now been some growth in the last 5 quarters, almost half of the increase over the period has occurred in the last quarter to June 2013. Over the latest quarter there were increases in the Services sector (+2,190 jobs), the Manufacturing sector (+1,160 jobs) and in the ‘Other Industries’ sector (+120 jobs) and a decrease in the Construction sector (-240 jobs). The public sector jobs increased by 0.2% (+460 jobs) while the private sector jobs also experienced an increase (+0.5% or +2,530 jobs), over the same period. 

· The annual increase in jobs (+5,230 jobs) was driven primarily by an increase in Service sector jobs (+6,830 jobs) and Manufacturing sector jobs (+420 jobs). This was slightly offset by decreases in the Construction sector (-2,020 jobs) and the ‘Other Industries’ sector (-10 jobs) over the same period. The Public sector increased by 1,310 jobs over the year and have now decreased by 4.6% (-10,280 jobs) since the series peaked at September 2009. The private sector was up 3,850 jobs over year, but has contracted 6.2% (31,740 jobs) since the series peaked in June 2008.

Labour Force Survey – Employment

· Seasonally adjusted estimates for the period May - July 2013 showed that there were 811,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland and that the corresponding working age employment rate was estimated to be 67.5%. This rate increased by 0.4 percentage points over the quarter and by 0.5 percentage points over the year.

· For the period May - July 2013, the NI employment rate (67.5%) was below that of the UK (71.6%) which increased by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter and by 0.4 percentage points over the year.

Labour Force Survey – Economic Inactivity

· The seasonally adjusted number of working age7 persons that were economically inactive increased by 4,000 over the quarter and the corresponding working age economic inactivity rate was 27.3% (in May - July 2013). The Northern Ireland inactivity rate (27.3%) remained above the UK average rate (22.3%) and was the highest rate among the twelve UK regions.

· Unadjusted LFS estimates can provide information on the reason for economic inactivity. In May - July 2013 an estimated 29% of the economically inactive of working age in Northern Ireland were students, 26% were sick/disabled, 25% were looking after the family/home, 13% were retired and 8% were ‘other’ reason.

Redundancies8-10

· One hundred and eighteen confirmed redundancies were notified in August 2013, compared to 145 in July 2013 and 186 in August 2012. There has been a 40% increase in the number of confirmed redundancies over the last year to 31 August 2013 – 3,083 compared to 2,209 in the previous year. There were 41 proposed redundancies notified during the period mid August 2013 to mid September 2013. This takes the total of proposed redundancies to 1,416 since the start of the year to mid August. Please note that since all proposed redundancies do not actually take place, the confirmed total provides a better indication of real job losses.

Notes to editors:

1. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) measure of unemployment used in Northern Ireland labour market statistical publications is consistent with the International Labour Organisation measure. An explanation of the difference between the LFS and Claimant Count measures of unemployment can be found athttp://www.detini.gov.uk/deti-stats-index/stats-labour-market/stats-labour-market-unemployment.htm

2. The official measure of unemployment is sourced to the LFS and refers to people without a job who were available for work and had either looked for work in the four weeks prior to interview or were waiting to start a job they had already obtained. This definition is consistent with that recommended by the International Labour Organisation. Unemployment estimates for the European Union and the Republic of Ireland are sourced to EUROSTAT.

3. The figures released today contain data from a number of different sources. The unemployment, employment and economic inactivity rates are sourced to the LFS and refer to the period May - July 2013. It should be noted that the LFS figures are estimates, which are subject to sampling error. This means that the exact figure is likely to be contained in a range surrounding the estimate quoted. For example, the exact number of unemployed persons is 95% likely to fall within +/- 11,000 of the quoted estimate.

4. The Claimant Count measure of unemployment relates to August 2013 and is based on claimant data from Jobs and Benefits Office Administrative Systems.

5. Not all those who register for unemployment benefits meet the criteria for LFS unemployment. Conversely, not all those defined as unemployed in the LFS are eligible for unemployment benefits. Estimates of the numbers unemployed may also differ between the two sources due to timing differences.

6. The employee jobs figures are sourced to the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) and refer to the position at the 3 June 2013 (with the quarterly change measured between March 2013 and June 2013). The QES figures are estimates that are subject to sampling error. The seasonal adjusted jobs total is constrained to the sum of each of the seasonal adjusted industry components. As a result, the jobs estimates for the Public and Private sectors, and their relative changes, will not sum to the total jobs as they are seasonally adjusted independently.

7. The ‘working age’ definition, used in the calculation of employment and economic inactivity rates, was changed in August 2010 to include those aged from 16 to 64 for both men and women. Please see link for further details http://www.detini.gov.uk/introduction_of_new_working_age_definition.pdf.

Please note that there are no implications for the headline unemployment rate, which will continue to be based on the economically active population aged 16 and over.

8. Under the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 companies are only legally required to notify the Department of impending redundancies of 20 or more employees. Any estimates provided are therefore likely to be an underestimate of total job losses, though it is not possible to quantify the extent of the shortfall.

9. Subject to the criteria mentioned above, employers must notify the Department of a) redundancies proposed and b) redundancies confirmed. Where redundancies occur, the confirmed total provides a better indication of real job losses since all proposed redundancies do not actually take place.

10. Redundancies do not necessarily equate to job losses, for example, employees who do not qualify for a redundancy package; those on temporary contracts are not incorporated in redundancy estimates.

11. Details of sampling errors, together with more detailed statistical information and definitions of the methodology used, can be found in the Labour Market Report (LMR) bulletin, which is available on the following website: http://www.statistics.detini.gov.uk/ 

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