Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: Almost 2,500 redundancies proposed in NI in June

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Employers in Northern Ireland proposed almost 2,500 redundancies in June, which is the highest monthly figure on record.

A further 745 redundancies were proposed in the first two weeks of July.

The total number of proposed redundancies since the start of March is now 4,900.

Companies are required to notify the government when they plan to make more than 20 people redundant.

The statistics agency, Nisra, said the redundancies have been concentrated in retail, hospitality, manufacturing and transportation.

Those four sectors accounted for almost 90% of proposed redundancies between March and the end of June.

The latest labour market figures also suggest that about one-in-five employees are currently furloughed.

With people in work also doing fewer than their normal hours there has been a large impact on the number of hours worked across the economy.

The average number of hours worked per week is now the lowest on record at 27.4 hours per week, a decrease of 6.5 hours per week or 19% over the year.

The headline unemployment figures give some suggestion that the very rapid pace of job losses in the early stages of the pandemic may have eased.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits fell slight in June but is still more than double what is was in March.

Mike Brewer, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation think tank, says the fall in the claimant count is probably linked to the timing of government support schemes.

He suggested that some of the people who were claiming universal credit earlier in the crisis have now got some furlough pay or received their self-employment grant.

Biggest quarterly fall on record

Meanwhile economic output figures suggest the Northern Ireland economy shrank by nearly 3% in the first quarter of 2020.

That is the biggest quarterly fall on record.

The figures capture the earliest stages of the lockdown at the end of March.

The second quarter figures will show a much bigger fall.

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