He said: “The latest LRA report shows that NI’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.6% between February and April 2021, giving an unemployment rate of 3.1% compared to a UK rate of 4.7%.
“In May 2021 there was a monthly increase of 0.7% in the number of employees receiving pay through HMRC PAYE. There was also a monthly increase of 0.5% in the NI employment rate which shows the proportion of people aged 16-64 in work. This potentially shows that the job losses of the last 12 months could be starting to be clawed back as the effects of lifting the lockdown are felt. The employment rate has increased to 69.8% from its previous position of 69.1%. But these increases are not yet statistically significant.
“The Report also stated that businesses reported that employee jobs increased over the quarter to March 2021. The quarterly increase of 0.3% was the first seen since December 2019. This increase was driven by increases in the services and manufacturing industry sectors. The increase in employment figures are however offset by an increasing number of redundancies. Proposed redundancies were 150 in May and currently 360 in the month to date with 280 redundancies confirmed in May. This takes the annual total to 5,920, the highest since 2001.
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“There is much positivity that can be taken from the latest figures, although the increased employment rates combined with increasing redundancies would suggest that some sectors are doing better than others. It is also likely that the re-opening of the hospitality sector and subsequent recruitment (and much publicised ‘skills shortage’) is having a positive effect on the figures.”
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