Labour Market Statistics

Date published: 15 August 2023

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

Labour Market Statistics
Labour Market Statistics

Key points

Payrolled employees and monthly earnings increased over the month

  • The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in July 2023 was 793,000, a 0.4% increase over the month and a 1.9% increase over the year.
  • Earnings data from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £2,103 in July 2023, unchanged over the month and an increase of £147 (7.5%) over the year. 
  • When considering the annual change in employees by industry to July 2023, increases were recorded within the services (2.2%), manufacturing (1.3%) and other industries (1.3%) sectors.  However, the count of employee jobs in the construction sector remained unchanged.

Claimant Count Rate remains relatively constant over previous year

  • In July 2023, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 37,000 (3.8% of the workforce), an increase of 1.7% from the previous month’s revised figure.  The July 2023 claimant count remains 23.8% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.

Proposed redundancies almost three and a half times the total for previous year

Labour Force Survey employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity rates remain relatively steady

  • The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people age 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period April-June 2023 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.7%. This was an increase of 0.2 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and was unchanged from the same period last year.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased by 0.6pps over the quarter and increased by 1.7pps over the year to 71.4%.
  • The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (28.7 million) decreased by 0.8% over the quarter and increased by 2.9% 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 0.4pps over the quarter and decreased by 1.8pps over the year to 26.6%.


  • The latest labour market release shows that over the year both payrolled employee numbers and earnings have increased with Labour Force Survey employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity rates remaining relatively steady.
  • The latest HMRC payroll data shows that payrolled employee numbers increased by 0.4% over the month and increased by 1.9% over the year.  Payrolled earnings were unchanged over the month and were 7.5% higher than July 2022.
  • Households reported, via the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a 1.7pps increase in the employment rate over the year to April-June 2023, to 71.4%, while there was a 1.8pps decrease in the economic inactivity rate over the year to April-June 2023, to 26.6%.  The unemployment rate was unchanged from the position one year ago, at 2.7%.  Caution is advised when interpreting these results, as none of the annual changes were statistically significant.  At April-June 2023, the economic inactivity rate was 0.7pps above the pre-pandemic position recorded in October-December 2019, while the unemployment rate for April-June 2023 was 0.3pps above the pre-pandemic rate.  The employment rate for April-June 2023 sat 0.9pps below the pre-pandemic position recorded in October-December 2019.
  • The total number of hours worked in April-June 2023 increased by 2.9% over the year, to 28.7 million hours per week.  This is 1.7% below the pre-pandemic position recorded in October-December 2019.
  • The Department was notified of 250 proposed redundancies in July 2023, which is almost double the monthly average recorded during 2022 of 130.  This month’s proposed redundancies take the latest rolling twelve-month total to 4,370, which is the highest rolling twelve-month total since August 2021 and is almost three and a half times the figure for the previous year (1,260).
  • The Department was also notified that 40 redundancies had taken place in July 2023.  This brought the rolling twelve-month total of confirmed redundancies to 1,340, the fifth consecutive month that the total has been over 1,000, although this figure is still well below the long term trend.
  • Lastly, the claimant count estimate increased, by 1.7%, over the month to July 2023 from the revised figure for June 2023.  The claimant count rate also increased, to 3.8%, however this is the sixteenth consecutive month that the claimant count rate has been within the range 3.6% to 3.8%.


Notes to editors: 

1. The statistical report and associated tables are available on Labour Market Report - August 2023 page of the 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 2023 and the quarter preceding that (i.e. January-March 2023).  ‘Over the year’ refer to comparisons between the latest quarterly estimates for the period April-June 2023 and those of the corresponding quarter one year previously (i.e. April-June 2022).  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 2023 should be compared with the estimates for January-March 2023.  This provides a more robust estimate than comparing with the estimates for March-May 2023, 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 three businesses are not disclosed.  The Statistical Disclosure Control Policy is available on the Redundancies Background Information page of 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 2023 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. The content and format of the Labour Market Report (LMR) and monthly tables changed in September 2022 to make them more user friendly and interactive, enhancing accessibility, and increasing automation in their production.  As the tables have changed, a mapping document has been created showing the relationship between old and new tables.  In addition, the LMR, supplementary documents and data tables are now all available on one webpage with links added to individual data source pages directing users to the most recent data.

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 12th September 2023.

14. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at:

15. To keep up to date with news from the Department you can follow us on the following social media channels:

16. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays.  The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

17. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to: Responsible statistician: Mark McFetridge, Economic & Labour Market Statistics(ELMS), or Tel: 028 902 55172.

Share this page

Back to top