Catholics face higher unemployment than Protestants in North

Unemployment rate dropped from 9% for Protestants and 18% for Catholics in 1992 to 5% and 7% in 2016

In 1992, 24%  of working age Protestants were economically inactive compared with 34%  of working age Catholics, a 10 percentage point difference. In 2016, the rates were 25% for Protestants and 26%  for Catholics. Photograph: Getty Images

In 1992, 24% of working age Protestants were economically inactive compared with 34% of working age Catholics, a 10 percentage point difference. In 2016, the rates were 25% for Protestants and 26% for Catholics. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Catholics have generally experienced higher rates of unemployment than Protestants in the North over the last 14 years, but the gap between people from the two communities has narrowed significantly.

In 1992 the unemployment rate was 9 per cent for Protestants and 18 per cent for Catholics; in 2016 these rates were 5 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

Historically “there has been a difference” in the jobs numbers held by members of the two main religious communities, with Catholics doing worse off, said the Northern Executive Office report.

In 1992, 76 per cent of working age Protestants were economically active, compared with 66 per cent of working age Catholics. By 2016, these figures had fallen to 75 per cent for Protestants, but risen to 74 per cent for Catholics.

In 1992, 24 per cent of working age Protestants were economically inactive compared with 34 per cent of working age Catholics, a 10 percentage point difference. In 2016, the rates were 25 per cent for Protestants and 26 per cent for Catholics.

The Executive Office published the Labour Force Survey Religion Report 2016 on Wednesday. It examines the labour market characteristics of Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.

Between 1990 and 2016, the proportion of the population aged 16 or over who reported as Protestant decreased from 56 per cent to 44 per cent. The proportion who reported as Catholic increased from 38 per cent to 42 per cent.

Doubled

The proportion reported as “other/non-determined” has more than doubled over the same period from 6 per cent to 14 per cent.

A consistently higher proportion of working age Protestants have been in employment compared with their Catholic counterparts between 1992 and 2016. However, this difference has decreased over time – in 1992, 69 per cent of working age Protestants and 54 per cent of working age Catholics were in employment; by 2016 these rates were 71 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.

Over the same period there have generally been higher levels of economic activity and lower levels of economic inactivity among Protestants compared with Catholics, although these gaps have also closed.

Over the period 1993 to 2016, the proportion of working-age economically active Protestants with no qualifications fell from 30 per cent to 11 per cent, but the numbers of Catholics without skills fell by slightly more, from 32 per cent to 10 per cent.