NI at highest number of redundancies since 2001

  • Northern Ireland's annual total of confirmed redundancies has reached 5,920 - its highest number since 2001, according to the latest statistics from NISRA.

    280 redunancies were confirmed in May. By then, there had also been 9,160 collective proposed redundancies in the last 12 months - almost double the number recorded the previous year. 

    A further 360 redundancies have been proposed in the first two weeks of June. On a positive note, these levels of proposed redundancies remain well below the 2020 average of 920 redundancies per month.

    The month of May did also see the highest number of payrolled employees since the pandemic began in March 2020, an increase of 7% over the month and 9% throughout the entire year.

    The employment rate within the region has increased over the last quarter, but within the context of the rest of the UK, NI had the lowest employment rate, the lowest unemployment rate and the highest economic inactivity rate.

    In May, 54,300 people were recorded as receiving benefits such as jobseeker's allowance and universal credit -  a decrease of 1,900 (3.4%) from the previous month’s revised figure and 14.8% below the recent peak in May 2020.

    This number still remains almost 80% above the number recorded in March 2020.

    March 2021 marked the first quarterly increase in employee jobs since December 2019, following a year of decline. 

    RELATED: NI sees rapid job creation and economic growth output with lockdown easing

    The HMRC payroll data is the most timely and best single, overall indicator of the labour market. The latest data show that, the number of employees has increased for six consecutive months, with an increase of 1.0% (7,600 employees) in the last two months alone.

    Employee numbers are now at their highest since March 2020, but remain 0.7% below the February 2020 level.

    Provisional HMRC data show the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme supported approximately 90,000 jobs at the end of April (equivalent to a take-up rate of 12%). This continues the downward trend, seen in February and March, from approximately 117,000 supported jobs during January.

    ONS data has also shown that the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions has helped to stabilise self-employed numbers across the UK.

    Although there are still 500,000 fewer freelancers than the same time last year, the total number of freelancers in March had risen by 21,000 compared to the previous month. This is the second consecutive month-on-month increase in self-employed numbers since the beginning of the pandemic.

    Newly appointed NI Economy Minister, Paul Frew said yesterday in a statement that he wants "to progress the associated 10X skills strategy for Northern Ireland to support more people to improve their job prospects."

    He added a specific focus on maximising jobs and investment opportunities within the energy sector, and commented that he does "not underestimate the scale of the economic challenges we face as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic."


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