Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland unemployment hits record low: report

Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey
Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Unemployment in Northern Ireland has fallen to a record low of 2.3%, according to a government report.

The labour force survey revealed the rate had fallen 1.3 percentage points over the year, a trend which the NI Statistics and Research Agency said reflected “significant” change.

The level for joblessness for August to October was well below the UK rate of 3.8% and the Republic’s joblessness level of 5.3%. 

And the rate of employment among the working age population in Northern Ireland was 72.4%, the highest on record.  That was up by 3.9 percentage points over the year.

However, Northern Ireland’s employment rate still lags the UK average of 76.2%.

And while the employment rate also covers those who are self-employed, there was also a surge in employee job numbers.

There were 782,670 employee jobs, with numbers surging by 4,210 over the quarter and 15,540 jobs over the year.

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Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said the rise in employee jobs was a surprise as business conditions in Northern Ireland have been getting worse.

He said: “Northern Ireland has now posted 15 consecutive quarters of employment growth and 21 successive quarters of private sector jobs growth.”

The economic inactivity rate — which covers those who are neither in work nor looking for work, was one of the lowest on record NI at 25.9%, though it remained the highest average rate for the UK regions.  Across the UK, the average economic inactivity rate was 20.8%.

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