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Northern Ireland redundancies at 20-year high

The number of redundancies confirmed in Northern Ireland over the past 12 months has reached a 20 year high.

A total of 5,770 people were made redundant in the 12 months up to the end of February. That was more than double the previous 12 months.

During February 420 redundancies were confirmed. However, there were no redundancies proposed.

In all there were 10,650 collective redundancies proposed during the same period.

The latest figures also show the largest annual decrease in employment rate since 2009

The number of people unemployed rose for the first time since May.

In February, the number of unemployed was 58,900 (6.3% of the workforce), which is an increase of 2,200 (3.9%) from the previous month’s revised figure but 8.3% below the recent peak in May. The claimant count remains around double the number recorded in March 2020 and is similar to levels previously seen in 2014.

Payrolled employees increased and employee earnings decreased over the month.

The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in January 2021 was 744,300, an increase of 0.2% over the month and a decrease of 0.9% over the year. The flash estimate for Febuary 2021 shows an increase of 0.2% on January’s figure to 746,100.

The figures indicate an average pay of £1,775, a decrease of 0.7% over the month, however, earnings were 4.8% higher than those recorded in January 2020.

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 1.5 percentage points (pps) and over the year by 2.1pps to 28%. The economic inactivity rate was similar to rates over the last 10 years and significantly below peak rates in 2009.

Manufacturing and the service sector saw decreases in the number of jobs, as too did the private sector generally. Public sector jobs increased marginally.

NI had the second lowest unemployment rate in the UK, the lowest employment rate and the highest economic inactivity rate of all the UK regions.

The latest figures indicate some recovery has been seen since the second quarter of the year, in terms of hours worked, number of unemployment related benefit claimants and decrease in collective redundancy proposals, the scale of the recovery is less than the size of the initial shift in indicators.