New official data suggests a slight weakening in the Northern Ireland job market between April and June. The unemployment rate increased from 2.5% to 2.7%, while the employment rate receded from 72% to 71.4%. These figures had last reached 72.4% in autumn 2019, before decreasing to 67.9% during the pandemic. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) advises careful interpretation of these figures as the changes are not statistically significant.
A different employment indicator, the count of people on company payrolls, exhibited improvement. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data indicated a rise of 0.4% in the number of payrolled employees in July, amounting to 793,000 individuals. This data also suggests that typical pay raises in Northern Ireland might now be aligning with the rate of inflation.
July saw average monthly pay in Northern Ireland at £2,103, remaining unchanged from the prior month but marking a 7.5% increase compared to July 2022. The UK’s annual inflation rate was 7.9% in June, with the July data set to be published on Thursday. It’s anticipated that the new data will likely show a decrease in the inflation rate to around 7% in July.
In comparison to the pre-pandemic level recorded in March 2020 (£1,743), typical monthly earnings in Northern Ireland have risen by 20.7%. Nonetheless, this increase falls short by 2.5 percentage points in comparison to the UK average, representing the smallest increment among all the UK regions.
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