PwC comment on labour market data

Northern Ireland’s service sector created nearly 12,000 new jobs in the year to March 2018, taking the region’s employment to a  record high, according to official figures released today.

There were 778,240 employees in work in March 2019, nearly 15,600 more than a year before and an overall increase of 2%.

Commenting on today’s Labour market data, PwC NI Partner Janette Jones said:

“Today’s data shows the number of people in work in Northern Ireland is the joint highest on record (71.3%), reflecting the picture for the UK as a whole (76.1%).

“The local unemployment rate (3.1%) is also significantly below the number of jobless recorded in mid-2017, and below the UK (3.8%).

“These figures, however welcome, should be taken with a note of caution. Northern Ireland’s economic inactivity rate - the number of people not working or seeking work - is 26.4% and remains well above the overall UK rate of 20.8%.

“In addition, the number of people out of work for a year or more and defined as long-term unemployed, is 40.1%, almost 13 percentage points above the UK total of 27.7%.

“The overall jobs picture should also be seen in the context of political treats and  continued low productivity. With the likely outcome of Brexit still unclear, this week’s Ulster Bank report showing falling private sector output for the third consecutive month is worrying and reinforces the importance of productivity as well as jobs in addressing the region’s long-term recovery.”

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