Claimant count in Newry and Mourne continues to rise

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

THE number of people out of work in Newry and Mourne increased over the past month.

Figures released show that the number of claimants in the area increased by 90 to a new total of 3,860.

Of those claimants, 2,2420 were males and 1,440 females.

Over the past year the number of claimants in Newry and Mourne has increased by 2.415.

In neighbouring Armagh the claimant count rose by 60 to a new total of 1,925 while one of the biggest increases was recorded in Craigavon, an increase of 135 over the past month.

In the Newry and Armagh Constituency the overall total stood at 4,225, an increase of 105.

The figures show that the Claimant Count in the North remains above 60,000 for the fourth month

In August 2020, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 62,700 (6.8% of the workforce). This represents an increase of 800 (1.2%) from the previous month’s revised figure. This is the fourth month that the claimant count was above 60,000; levels previously seen in 2012 and 2013.

Employee Earnings from PAYE increased over the quarter and the year

NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,706 in the three months to July 2020, an increase of 0.3% (£5) on the previous three months to April and an increase of 1.8% (£30) from the same time last year. In comparison, earnings in the UK decreased over the quarter by 0.1% (£1) and increased over the year by 0.8% (£15).

NI unemployment rate decreased over the quarter

The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16+ who were unemployed) for the period May-July 2020 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.9%. The unemployment rate increased over the quarter by 0.6 percentage points (pps) and was unchanged 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 NI unemployment rate (2.9%) was below the UK rate (4.1%), the European Union (27) rate (6.7%) for May 2020 and the Republic of Ireland rate (5.3%) for June 2020.

Employment and economic inactivity rates decreased over the quarter

The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) decreased over the quarter by 0.1pps and decreased over the year by 0.5pps to 71.5%. 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 from 16 to 64 who were not working and not seeking or available to work) decreased over the quarter by 0.4pps and increased over the year by 0.4pps to 26.3%. 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 rate of UK regions and the highest economic inactivity rate of all UK regions.

First quarterly decline in employee jobs since the end of 2015

Estimates from the Quarterly Employment Survey June 2020 indicate that employee jobs decreased marginally over the quarter (-0.2% or -1,540 jobs) to 779,880 jobs. Whilst there was an increase (0.6% or 4,570 jobs) over the year in employee jobs, the rate of annual growth has generally been slowing since the highest annual growth rate recorded in December 2017. Neither the quarterly nor the annual changes in employee jobs were found to be statistically significant.

The quarterly decline in employee jobs from the peak in March is the first decrease since December 2015, and consisted of a decrease within the manufacturing, construction and services sectors to June 2020.

Manufacturing was the only broad industry sector to experience a decrease in employee jobs over the year of 2.7% (-2,370 jobs), following four consecutive quarters of decline since the peak in June 2019.

The industry sections contributing most to the quarterly decline were administrative and support activities (-2,900 jobs) and accommodation and food service activities (-1,360 jobs). These were slightly offset by growth over the quarter in human health and social work activities (2,200 jobs) and wholesale and retail trade (780 jobs). These four industries are also key contributors to change for the UK as a whole.

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