Fall in the number of claimants in Newry & Mourne District Council

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Saturday 19 February 2022 8:23

UNEMPLOYMENT fell in January in the Newry and Mourne Council area.

The number of claimants was 2,105.

Of those claimants, 1, 280 were males with 825 females.

Compared to the previous month, December, there has been a fall of 65 while the year on year total shows a reduction of 990.

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

Summary

Payrolled employees now higher than pre-COVID for the eighth consecutive month

The number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE in NI in January 2022 was 774,900, an increase of 0.4% over the month and 5.0% over the year. This is the highest on record and the eighth consecutive month that employee numbers have been above pre-COVID levels.

Earnings from the HMRC PAYE indicated that NI employees had a median monthly pay of £1,941 in January 2022, an increase of £33 (1.7%) over the month and an increase of £155 (8.7%) over the year.

NI Claimant Count (Experimental Series) decreased for the eleventh consecutive month

In January 2022, the seasonally adjusted number of people on the claimant count was 41,200 (4.2% of the workforce), a decrease of 900 (2.2%) from the previous month’s revised figure. The January claimant count is 35% below the recent peak in May 2020, and 35% higher than the pre-pandemic count in March 2020.

260 proposed redundancies since the beginning of 2022

There have been 260 proposed redundancies since the beginning of 2022 (up to 14th February). This follows no, or low, proposed redundancies in each of the months September to December 2021. Over the year February 2021 to January 2022, 1,930 redundancies were proposed, 82% less than in the previous 12 months.

NISRA, acting on behalf of the Department for the Economy, received confirmation that 20 redundancies occurred in January 2022. Over the year from 1st February 2021 to 31st January 2022, 2,450 redundancies were confirmed, 54% less than in the previous year.

The latest NI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (the proportion of economically active people aged 16 and over who were unemployed) for the period October-December 2021 was estimated from the Labour Force Survey at 2.7%. The unemployment rate decreased by 1.3 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and by 0.8pps over the year. The quarterly change was statistically significant and is likely to reflect real change.

The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) increased by 0.5pps over both the quarter and the year to 70.7%. Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant. Similarly, the total number of weekly hours worked in NI (27.1 million) increased by 0.9% over the quarter and by 6.3% 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 over the quarter (+0.5pps) and over the year (+0.1pps) to 27.3%. Neither the quarterly nor annual changes were statistically significant.

Commentary

The number of payrolled employees and level of payroll earnings continue to be above the pre-pandemic levels. Total employment (which includes self-employed) and hours worked have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels and similarly claimant count, unemployment and economic inactivity all remain above.

The latest HMRC payroll data showed that employee numbers were the highest on record in January and 2.9% above those recorded in March 2020 pre-COVID. A closer look at the annual increase (+5.0%) in payrolled employee jobs shows that all sectors with the exception of finance and insurance reported an increase over the year. The accommodation and food sector reported the largest percentage increase over the year (+14%), where employees in this sector are just above (1%) those recorded pre-pandemic.

Following no, or low, proposed redundancies in each of the months between September and December 2021, there were 260 proposed redundancies since the beginning of 2022 (up to 14th February). However, this number is well below the average number of proposed redundancies in the second half of 2020 (at 1,050 per month). The annual total of proposed collective redundancies to the end of January (1,930) is the lowest rolling twelve-month total since November 2011, while there was a 54% decrease in confirmed redundancies in the most recent twelve-month period when compared to the previous year.

The Labour Force Survey shows a statistically significant quarterly change in the unemployment rate to October-December 2021, where the rate decreased by 1.3pps to 2.7%. Compared to the pre-pandemic levels in October-December 2019, the total number of hours worked in October-December 2021 was 7.0% below, whilst the employment rate was 1.7pps below. Both the unemployment and economic inactivity rates remain above the pre-pandemic position (0.3pps and 1.5pps above, respectively).

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