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Statistical Press Release - latest labour market figures 

The latest labour market figures have 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

NISRA today also released the Index of Construction which can be accessed via  http://www.csu.nisra.gov.uk/survey.asp11.htm 

Postponement of Publications

Please note that the NI Composite Economic Index for Quarter 2 2013, scheduled for publication on 16 October 2013 at 9.30am has been postponed by the Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. This has been necessary to allow for additional quality assurance of the Index of Production and Index of Services which has arisen because of the introduction of a new IT platform.

A revised publication date will be announced as soon as possible.

Main Results:

Labour Force Survey1-3 – Unemployment

· The Northern Ireland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, as measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS), was estimated at 7.3% for the period June - August 2013. This is down 0.5 percentage points from the rate recorded in the previous quarter (7.8%) and was down 0.8 percentage points from the rate recorded one year ago (8.1%). 

· The Northern Ireland unemployment rate was below the UK average rate (7.7%) which has decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the quarter and by 0.2 percentage points over the year. The NI rate was also lower than the European Union (11.0%) and Republic of Ireland (13.8%) rates for July 2013.

· Unadjusted LFS estimates for June - August 2013 show that 51.4% of those unemployed in Northern Ireland have been unemployed for one year or more. This is up 2.9 percentage points from one year ago. They also record the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds at 22.5% - up 1.4 percentage points over the year.

· At the time of production, comparable figures for the three months May - July 2013 estimated the NI unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds at 18.8%, compared to the UK average rate of 19.4%. Please note the LFS is a sample survey with an associated degree of sampling error. The Northern Ireland LFS unemployment rate (7.3%) is accurate to within +/- 1.3% for June - August 2013.

Claimant Count Unemployment4-5

· The seasonally adjusted number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 61,600 in September 2013 – down 600 from the previous month. This is the eighth consecutive month in which there has been a fall in this measure of unemployment (3,300 over the period).

· The Northern Ireland claimant count rate (6.8%) in September 2013 was the highest among the twelve UK regions – the UK rate was 4.0%. This is now the 42nd 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 (1.0%) was lower than the UK decrease (3.0%). Over the year, the Northern Ireland claimant count has decreased by 3.1% (2,000), compared to a decrease of 13.7% in the UK. The annual decrease in Northern Ireland was the lowest among the 12 UK regions.

Labour Force Survey – Employment

· Seasonally adjusted estimates for the period June - August 2013 showed that there were 799,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland and that the corresponding working age employment rate was estimated to be 66.7%. This rate increased by 0.1 percentage points over the quarter and remained the same over the year.

· For the period June - August 2013, the NI employment rate (66.7%) was below that of the UK (71.7%) which increased by 0.3 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 age6 persons that were economically inactive increased by 5,000 over the quarter and the corresponding working age economic inactivity rate was 27.9% (in June - August 2013). The Northern Ireland inactivity rate (27.9%) remained above the UK average rate (22.2%) and was the highest rate among the twelve UK regions.

· Unadjusted LFS estimates can provide information on the reason for economic inactivity. In June - August 2013 an estimated 27% of the economically inactive of working age in Northern Ireland were students, 26% were looking after the family/home, 25% were sick/disabled, 12% were retired and 9% were ‘other’ reason.


· Two hundred and twenty-eight confirmed redundancies were notified in September 2013, compared to 157 in August 2013 and 142 in September 2012. There has been a 42% increase in the number of confirmed redundancies over the last year to 30 September 2013 – 3,251 compared to 2,289 in the previous year. There were also 183 proposed redundancies notified during the period mid September 2013 to mid October 2013. This takes the total of proposed redundancies to 1,599 since the start of the year to mid October. Please note that since all proposed redundancies do not actually take place, the confirmed total provides a better indication of real job losses.

Construction sector output

· The total volume of construction output in Northern Ireland in the second quarter of 2013 decreased by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013 and was 5.1% lower compared to the same quarter in 2012. This latest quarterly decrease follows two successive quarters of positive growth in construction output

· The value of construction output in real prices in Q2 2013 was estimated to be £452 million, the lowest quarterly value reported in the current series. The level of output reported in Q2 2013 is in the region of 40% lower than the levels of output reported in the quarters before the downturn in 2007. All the sub-sectors of construction experienced a decrease in Q2 2013. 

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 at  http://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 Office. 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 June - August 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 +/- 12,000 of the quoted estimate.

4. The Claimant Count measure of unemployment relates to September 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 ‘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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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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