Tue, 12 Dec 2023

Labour Market Statistics

Northern Ireland Executive
14 Nov 2023, 22 GMT+10

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

Labour Market Statistics

The labour market statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & 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 Pound 2,100 in October 2023, an increase of Pound 2 (0.1%) over the month and Pound 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

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%.

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