Posted on Thursday 16 February 2017 by ub digital
The Northern Ireland jobs market appears in robust health despite the looming threat of Brexit.
That is the conclusion of the latest employment data released by the Department for the Economy which showed a decrease in the unemployment rate by 0.3% to 5.3% in the last quarter of 2016.
It has helped quash worries that firms would curtail hiring or even lay off staff in the wake of the European Union Referendum last June.
In fact, unemployment since the vote has fallen by 0.7% and even the economic inactivity rate - a measure of the number of people not actively looking for work, the bane of the Northern Ireland economy - fell by 0.5%.
Given the purdah period imposed on politicians in the run up to next month’s Stormont election, economy minister Simon Hamilton didn’t comment on the data but the release from his department said future data will give a clearer picture as to whether pre-EU referendum fears were warranted.
“The post-referendum picture is still emerging and will continue to do so over the coming quarters and years,” it said. “It is also not possible to separate out the specific impact of the referendum in this quarter from pre-existing trends, however, the latest figures show there has been little change in unemployment rates since the EU referendum.”
Comparing the jobs figures with other regions of the UK reveals there is still a lot of work to be done for the economy here.
The unemployment rate itself is above the UK average of 4.8% and the inactivity rate, although improved, remains the highest of all UK regions.
Meanwhile, another data release from the Office for National Statistics also shows Northern Ireland households stand sixth in the ranking of the 12 UK regions when it comes to expenditure.
Average weekly household expenditure stands at £502.50 a week compared to a UK average of £527.
That ranges from £652 in London to £423.50 in the North East of England.