The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.
The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
Payrolled employees and monthly earnings increased over the month
- The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in October 2023 was 797,400, a 0.3% increase over the month and a 2.0% increase over the year.
- Earnings data from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £2,100 in October 2023, an increase of £2 (0.1%) over the month and £118 (6.0%) over the year.
- When considering the annual change in earnings by industry to October 2023, finance and insurance was the only sector to see a decrease (1.9%). The smallest annual increases were seen in Public administration and defence, and Education which both increased by 2.8%, lower than the NI average (6.0%).
Claimant Count Rate remains relatively constant over previous year
- In October 2023, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 37,100 (3.8% of the workforce), a decrease of 0.2% from the previous month’s revised figure. The October 2023 claimant count remains 24.2% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.
Proposed redundancies over three times the total for previous year
- NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 450 redundancies occurred in October 2023. Over the year November 2022 to October 2023, 2,200 redundancies were confirmed, more than double the previous year (940).
- In the latest 12-month period, there were 4,000 proposed redundancies, which was more than triple the total for the previous year (1,290).
Labour Force Survey employment and unemployment rates show statistically significant changes over the year
- The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people age 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period July-September 2023 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.1%. This was a decrease of 0.6 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and 0.9pps from the same period last year. Both changes were statistically significant.
- The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased by 0.8pps over the quarter and by 2.2pps over the year to 72.2%. The annual change was statistically significant.
- The total number of weekly hours worked in NI (27.8 million) decreased by 2.8% 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) decreased by 0.2pps over the quarter and by 1.4pps over the year to 26.3%.
- The latest Labour Market release shows that over the year both payrolled employee numbers and earnings have increased. In addition, the Labour Force Survey employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity rates have all moved in a favourable direction when compared to one year ago.
- The latest HMRC payroll data shows that payrolled employee numbers increased by 0.3% over the month and increased by 2.0% over the year. Payrolled earnings increased by 0.1% over the month and were 6.0% higher than October 2022.
- Households reported, via the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a 2.2pps increase in the employment rate over the year to July-September 2023, to 72.2%, while there were decreases over the year to July-September 2023 in both the economic inactivity rate (by 1.4pps to 26.3%) and the unemployment rate (by 0.9pps to 2.1%). Both the employment and unemployment annual changes were statistically significant. At July-September 2023, the unemployment rate was 0.2pps below the pre-pandemic rate recorded in October-December 2019, whilst the employment rate for July-September 2023 was just 0.1pps below the pre-pandemic position. The economic inactivity rate was 0.5pps above the pre-pandemic position recorded in October-December 2019.
- The total number of hours worked in July-September 2023 increased by 4.9% over the year, to 27.8 million hours per week. This is 4.5% below the pre-pandemic position recorded in October-December 2019.
- In addition, the Department was notified of 450 confirmed redundancies in October 2023, which brought the rolling twelve-month total of confirmed redundancies to 2,200. This was more than double the figure for the previous year (940) and is the highest rolling twelve-month total since January 2022. There have also been 4,000 proposed redundancies notified to the Department over the year November 2022 to October 2023. This is the highest rolling twelve-month total since September 2021 and is similar to the levels seen in the decade preceding the pandemic.
- Finally, there was a small decrease of 0.2% in the claimant count estimate over the month to October 2023 from the revised figure for September 2023. The claimant count rate at October 2023 remained the same as the previous three months, at 3.8%. This is also the nineteenth consecutive month that the claimant count rate has been within the range 3.6% to 3.8%.
Notes to editors:
- The statistical report and associated tables are available at: Labour Market report - November 2023
- The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency wishes to thank the participating households for taking part in the Labour Force Survey.
- ‘Over the quarter’ refer to comparisons between the latest quarterly estimates for the period July-September 2023 and the quarter preceding that (i.e. April-June 2023). ‘Over the year’ refer to comparisons between the latest quarterly estimates for the period July-September 2023 and those of the corresponding quarter one year previously (i.e. July-September 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.
- Estimates relating to July-September 2023 should be compared with the estimates for April-June 2023. This provides a more robust estimate than comparing with the estimates for June-August 2023, as the July and August data are included within both estimates.
- 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 1.6% and 2.7%).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 here: https://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/redundancies-background-information. 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.
- 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.
- 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 October 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.
- 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.
- The next Labour Market Report will be published on the NISRA website on Tuesday 12th December 2023.
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- Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to: Responsible statistician: Mark McFetridge, Economic & Labour Market Statistics (ELMS), Mark.McFetridge@nisra.gov.uk or Tel: 028 902 55172.