NI labour market weakening

Despite the decline in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit, the latest figures for NI show that the labour market is weakening.

Whilst we have become accustomed to rising employment and falling unemployment over the last few years,  the local labour market now clearly appears to be on the turn, with the headline ILO unemployment rate rising from 5.7% in Q4 2014 to 6.5% in Q2 2015.

Differential with the UK

This rise in the unemployment rate, which is entirely due to male unemployment, is in contrast to the stable unemployment rate in the UK.

Indeed, the differential between the NI and UK unemployment rate is now at its widest margin since December 2003.

Economically inactive

The latest labour market figures also signal a rise in economic inactivity and a fall in employment.

Looking at those classed as economically inactive, it is interesting to note that the number of people who want work but are not seeking it due to long-term sickness has more than doubled over the last year.

Indeed, in Q2, 23,000 people fell into this category, a figure which has never been higher.

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