Commenting on the figures, Danske Bank Economist Conor Lambe said:
“Today’s Northern Ireland labour market data represented a bit of a mixed bag. It was encouraging to see the unemployment rate fall to its lowest rate since September – November 2008. Likewise, there was some good news regarding claimants of unemployment related benefits – the number of people claiming these fell in March for the twelfth month in a row.
“But the economic inactivity rate increased both over the quarter and over the year and addressing this needs to remain an important priority for Northern Ireland’s policymakers.
“The employment rate decreased for the second quarter in succession, effectively wiping out the gains made on this measure over the last year, which is disappointing.
“The high degree of uncertainty is likely to be having an impact on some businesses’ recruitment and staffing plans, so while this softening in the employment rate is not welcome, it is not entirely unexpected.”
This comment was published in response to the December - February 2017 Northern Ireland labour market data published by NISRA on 12th April 2017.