The latest Northern Ireland Labour Market Report was publish this week. A fall in the economic inactivity rate over the quarter and the year was perhaps the main story. The rate has fallen to a record low. Are Northern Ireland’s welfare reforms finally working?
Other key findings from the report included:
- Unemployment in Northern Ireland showed little change over the quarter to November – January 2016. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in NI increased in February.
- Over the quarter and the year, the employment rate increased and the economic inactivity rate decreased. The economic inactivity rate is the lowest since the series began in 1992.
- The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased by 0.1 percentage points (pps) over the quarter, to 6.0%.
- The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (from NI Jobs and Benefits Offices) increased by 200 over the month, bringing the total to 38,300 in February 2016.
- The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits has fallen by 26,400 since the most recent peak in February 2013, and by 8,000 over the year.
- The employment rate) increased over the quarter and over the year to 69.0%. This was the highest rate in NI since February – April 2007, however it remained lower than the UK employment rate (74.1%).
- The NI economic inactivity rate (26.4%) was down 1.4 pps over the year and 0.6 pps lower than in the previous quarter. This represents a statistically significant decrease from the rate in August – October 2010 (28.8%).
- The number of employee jobs increased over the quarter to December 2015 (+3,310) and over the year (+11,590) to 730,410. Jobs growth was driven by the services sector.
- Annual jobs growth to December 2015 (1.6% or 11,590 jobs) was however slower than in the previous year (1.9% growth or 13,680 jobs over the year to December 2014).