Labour Market Statistics

Date published: 16 August 2022

The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

Further Education Outcomes Report
Further Education Outcomes Report

Payrolled employee numbers have increased for the eleventh consecutive month

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in July 2022 was 779,300, a 0.4% increase over the month and 2.6% over the year.  This is the highest on record and the eleventh consecutive monthly increase.
  • Earnings from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,963 in July 2022, an increase of £2 (0.1%) over the month and an increase of £89 (4.7%) over the year. 

Claimant Count (Experimental Series) remains higher than pre-pandemic count

  • In July 2022, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 35,700 (3.8% of the workforce), which is a decrease of 0.5% from the previous month’s revised figure.  The July claimant count remains higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020 (by 20%).

Lowest annual totals of proposed and confirmed redundancies since 2000

  • NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 50 redundancies occurred in July 2022, taking the annual total to 1,160. Over the year August 2021 to July 2022, 1,260 redundancies were proposed.
  • The latest twelve month totals of both proposed and confirmed redundancies were around 80% lower than the previous year and the lowest in the time series (since 2000).

Labour Force Survey (LFS) headline measures

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period April-June 2022 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.7%.  This was an increase of 0.1 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and a decrease of 1.6pps over the year.  The annual change was statistically significant.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased by 0.9pps over the quarter and increased by 1.0pps over the year to 69.7%.  Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant.  The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (27.8 million) decreased by 0.7% over the quarter and increased by 4.9% over the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) increased by 0.8pps over the quarter and by 0.2pps over the year to 28.3%.  Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant.


  • The latest employee data shows another record high for payrolled employees and the level of payroll earnings continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels.  The trend of low numbers of redundancies continues, where the latest twelve month totals for confirmed and proposed redundancies were the lowest since 2000.
  • Measures of total employment (e.g. employment rate and hours worked), unemployment and economic inactivity have not yet returned to their pre-pandemic position.
  • The latest HMRC payroll data showed the highest level of payrolled employees on record in July, which are now 3.5% above those recorded in March 2020 pre-COVID and 2.6% higher than July 2021. When considering the annual change in employees by industry sector, the largest percentage increases were recorded in the ‘Information and communication’ and ‘Arts, entertainment and recreation’ sectors (both 9%).
  • The Labour Force Survey shows a statistically significant decrease in the unemployment rate over the year to April-June 2022.  When compared to pre-pandemic levels, the total number of hours worked in April-June 2022 was 4.5% below, whilst the employment rate was 2.7pps below.  The economic inactivity rate remains 2.5pps above the pre-pandemic position and the unemployment rate sits just 0.3pps above the pre-pandemic period.
  • The claimant count estimate for July 2022 decreased by 0.5% from the revised figure for June, continuing the decreasing trend seen since March 2021.



Notes to editors: 

  1. The statistical report and associated tables are available at the NISRA website.
  2. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency wishes to thank the participating households for taking part in the Labour Force Survey.
  3. ‘Over the quarter’ refer to comparisons between the latest quarterly estimates for the period April-June 2022 and the quarter preceding that (i.e. January-March 2022).  ‘Over the year’ refer to comparisons between the latest quarterly estimates for the period April-June 2022 and those of the corresponding quarter one year previously (i.e. April-June 2021).  Changes that are found to be significant in a statistical sense (i.e. where the estimated change exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and was likely to reflect real change) will be specifically highlighted.
  4. Estimates relating to April-June 2022 should be compared with the estimates for January-March.  This provides a more robust estimate than comparing with the estimates for March-May 2022, as the April and May data are included within both estimates.
  5. The official measure of unemployment is from the Labour Force Survey.  This measure of unemployment relates to people without a job who were available for work and had either looked for work in the last four weeks or were waiting to start a job.  This is the International Labour Organisation definition.  Labour Force Survey estimates 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 unemployment rate is likely to fall within 0.6pps of the quoted estimate (i.e. between 2.1% and 3.3%).
  6. The claimant count is an administrative data source derived from Jobs and Benefits Offices systems, which records the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits.  In March 2018 the NI claimant count measure changed from one based solely on Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) to an experimental measure based on JSA claimants and out-of-work Universal Credit (UC) claimants who were claiming principally for the reason of being unemployed.  Those claiming unemployment-related benefits (either UC or JSA) may be wholly unemployed and seeking work, or may be employed but with low income and/or low hours, that make them eligible for unemployment-related benefit support.  Under UC a broader span of claimants became eligible for unemployment-related benefit than under the previous benefit regime.
  7. Redundancies are provided by companies under the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (Amended 8 October 2006) whereby they are legally required to notify the Department of impending redundancies of 20 or more employees.  Companies who propose fewer than 20 redundancies are not required to notify the Department, therefore the figures provided are likely to be an underestimate of total job losses, however, it is not possible to quantify the extent of the shortfall.  All other things being equal we would expect more redundancies in sectors dominated by large businesses as they are the businesses that meet the 20 or more collective redundancy criteria.
  8. To prevent the potential identification of individual businesses, redundancy totals relating to fewer than 3 businesses are not disclosed.  The Statistical Disclosure Control Policy is available on the NISRA website.  Where the number of businesses does not meet the threshold for release (as detailed in the Statistical Disclosure Control Policy), individual monthly totals are not published.
  9. HMRC’s Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) system is an administrative data source.  The PAYE RTI system is the system employers use to take Income Tax and National Insurance contributions before they pay wages to employees.  These data relate to employees paid by employers only, and do not include self-employment income.
  10. Estimates of the number of paid employees and employee earnings from PAYE are classed as experimental statistics as they are still in their development phase.  As a result the data are subject to revisions.  Early estimates (flash estimates) for July 2022 are based on around 85% of information, and will be subject to revision in the next month’s release when between 98% and 99% of data will be available (main estimates).  The size of revisions to main and flash estimates are similar for employees, while revisions to earnings flash estimates are typically larger than main estimate revisions.  The HMRC PAYE covers the whole population rather than a sample of employees or companies.  Data are based on where employees live and not the location of their place of work within the UK.  Data are seasonally adjusted but not adjusted for inflation.  
  11. A new format of the Labour Market Report (LMR) is currently in development using HTML, which will further improve on accessibility, and the tables attached to the LMR are also being reviewed and improved.  We aim to roll these out in the coming months and will keep users informed of a timeline for releasing the new LMR and tables.
  12. The Labour Market Report will be of interest to policy makers, public bodies, the business community, banks, economic commentators, academics, and the general public with an interest in the local economy.
  13. The next Labour Market Report will be published on the NISRA website on Tuesday 13th September 2022.
  14. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at:
  15. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays.  The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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Responsible statistician:

Mark McFetridge,

Economic & Labour Market Statistics (ELMS), or Tel: 028 902 55172.

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