Over 9,000 redundancies proposed in NI as unemployment increases

9,600 collective redundancies were proposed in the twelve months to the end of September Credit: UTV

The latest labour market statistics show the number of proposed redundancies in Northern Ireland has more than doubled since last year and the unemployment rate has increased significantly.

The figures released by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency show 9,600 collective redundancies were proposed in the twelve months to the end of September, over double the number recorded in the previous twelve months.

Record high numbers were recorded over the summer, and this is now translating into confirmed redundancies, with 3,200 redundancy notifications received in the last four months.

During October, 850 redundancies were proposed, an decrease on the previous month’s total of 1,150, and 1,240 redundancies were confirmed, an increase from the total of 460 and the highest total this year. A further 710 were proposed in the current month to 6th November.

The Northern Ireland Claimant Count remains above 60,000 for the sixth month, levels previously seen in 2012 and 2013.

The number of payrolled employees increased by 0.1% in September, and a decrease of 0.7% over the year, with an estimate for October showing a decrease of 0.1% to 742,000 people receiving pay through HMRC PAYE. Employee earnings increased by 0.7% in that month.

The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16+ who were unemployed) for the period July-September 2020 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 3.6%.

The unemployment rate increased over the quarter by 1.0 percentage points (pps) and by 1.0pps over the year. The quarterly change was statistically significant, i.e. the recorded change exceeded the variability expected from a sample survey of this size and was likely to reflect real change.

The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter by 0.5pps and over the year by 1.7pps to 70.5%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the employment rate was significantly above rates in 2017.

The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) decreased over the quarter by 0.7pps and increased over the year by 0.2pps to 26.6%. Although recent changes were not statistically significant, the economic inactivity rate was significantly below rates in 2017.

Put into the context of the UK, NI has the lowest employment and unemployment rates and the highest economic inactivity rate of all the UK regions