Belfast Telegraph

Home Business Jobs

Northern Ireland jobs market shows signs of weakening, warns Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey
Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey

BY MARGARET CANNING

There are signs of a weakening jobs market in Northern Ireland even though the unemployment rate is still low, an economist has said.

The labour force survey from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency said the unemployment rate has fallen to 2.9% from around 4% a year earlier.

However, the rate from June to August was up slightly on the three months before. And total employment had fallen by 11,000 or 1.3% from a record high in quarter two.

At 2.9% over June to August, the unemployment rate here is below that of the UK at 3.9%, the EU rate of 6.3% and the Republic of Ireland rate of 5.3% for July.

There was also a fall in the percentage of people in work, to 71.5% from 72% in the previous period.

The rate of economic inactivity also rose over the quarter, to reach 26.4%, though it had fallen on the year before.

Economic inactivity — which covers people who are neither in work nor looking for work due to factors such as illness, retirement or looking after a family — is the highest in Northern Ireland of any UK region.

Sign In

Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said the 2.9% jobless rate was a “shade” above the rate of the previous quarter. And the fall in total employment of 11,000 from the record high of quarter two could be a sign of a weakening labour market.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular