Number of NI employees on payrolls now higher than pre-Covid levels

The number of payrolled employees in Northern Ireland is now higher than pre-Covid levels for the third consecutive month, Department of Economy figures show.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 5:18 pm
Ulster University Economist Dr Esmond Birnie. Picture by Brian Little

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency reported yesterday that redundancy figures for the last 12 months, at 460, are 40% lower than the previous 12 months.

The number of unemployed people claiming benefits decreased for the sixth consecutive month, at 48,500.

Payrolled employees are now higher than pre-COVID for the third consecutive month at 764,300 - an increase of 0.5% over the month and 3.7% over the year.

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Ulster University Economist Esmond Birnie said figures on payrolled employees “look quite impressive given that August’s jobs number has gone 1.5% above the pre-Covid level of March 2020”.

However, he warned that 35,000 people are due to come off furlough this month and that it is “hard to reconcile that NI’s jobs total would actually have exceeded the pre-Covid level when output is still substantially below where it was before the pandemic”. 

Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts said the figures are “encouraging” and show “at long last that our economy is beginning to slowly recover”.

He added: “However we have a long road ahead and should not be complacent. The growing problem of political instability at Stormont is clearly not helping with business confidence.”