An anatomy of economic inactivity in Northern Ireland

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Northern Ireland (NI) has topped the United Kingdom (UK) economic inactivity rankings for most of the past 30 years. Recent trends behind the headline labour market data indicate rising economic inactivity at a time when it has been falling in other regions of the UK. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of recent data, providing an up to date overview of recent historical trends and drivers of change. This paper analyses time series headline indicators, a more detailed analysis of the economically inactive stock of people and the economic activity status of NI households. The research also analyses information on labour market flows, and an audit of data based upon claimants of out of work incapacity related benefits.
This evidence base identifies areas where NI is performing differently from other parts of the UK, to investigate and highlight the areas where there are larger gaps between NI and the UK and highlight any socio-economic groups which appear to suffer from barriers to labour market participation. This
is solely an overview of the available statistics relating to economic inactivity.
Increasing the employment rate has been brought to the top of the policy agenda through its inclusion as a key outcome in the recently published ‘Draft Programme for Government’ (PfG). This paper argues that it is not possible to raise the employment rate and close the gap with the UK without reducing the economic inactivity rate, which is itself included as an outcome in the PfG.

Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyDepartment for Communities NI
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2016


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