Record number of people in work in Northern Ireland last year

Figure still lags the UK average of 75.8 per cent and is the worst of any region in the UK

Belfast City Hall. For the first time on record Northern Ireland’s employment rate hit 70.3 per cent in the last three months of 2018, according to official figures. Photograph: Joe Fox/Getty Images

Belfast City Hall. For the first time on record Northern Ireland’s employment rate hit 70.3 per cent in the last three months of 2018, according to official figures. Photograph: Joe Fox/Getty Images

 

The number of people with a job in the North soared to an all-time high of 853,000 last year, latest government statistics show.

For the first time on record Northern Ireland’s employment rate hit 70.3 per cent in the last three months of 2018, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency’s latest labour market report. But it still lags the UK average of 75.8 per cent and is the worst of any region in the UK.

It shows that the number of people in work increased by 23,000 in 2018.

Inherent weaknesses

The latest labour market report also notes that there were 2,575 confirmed redundancies in the North last year – an increase of 50 per cent on 2017 figures.

Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank chief economist, Northern Ireland, said that while the latest statistics may make for “pleasant reading” because of the numbers of people in work in the North last year they also “conceal” some inherent weaknesses.

“We are effectively looking in the rear-view mirror in order to gauge the state economy,” he said. “Looking ahead, it is clear that significant challenges lie ahead – a global and UK economic slowdown, Brexit and the lack of a Northern Ireland Executive.”