THE north’s jobs market showed signs of slowing in the third quarter, a new report suggests.
Data compiled by recruitment website NIjobs.com and Ulster Bank found that the number of vacancies advertised between July and September fell by five per-cent compared with the second quarter of 2019.
It’s the second consecutive quarter that the number of jobs listed fell this year.
However NIjobs.com said job seekers had been increasingly active in 2019, with applications up by 12 per cent in the past year.
Last month, Northern Ireland posted an unemployment rate of 2.9 per cent during the third quarter, one the lowest rates on record.
Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said that job listings had now fallen by over 13 per cent since the peak of the first quarter in 2019.
“The pace of hiring at the start of the year was unsustainable and needed to slow. Double-digit wage inflation has been prevalent in some areas with acute skills shortages, most notably the IT sector.
“A slowdown has been gaining momentum with many of the employment categories reporting declines in the number of posts advertised.”
NIjobs.com’s general manager Sam McIlveen said the fact that jobs had eased back was no surprise against the backdrop of the ongoing economic uncertainty.
“However, our latest job report must be viewed in context. We are coming off the back of record job highs with 14 consecutive quarters of growth so in many ways the local jobs market has never been stronger.
“Interestingly, job applications have increased by 12 per cent on our site, which signals just how active and engaged Northern Ireland’s jobseekers are at the moment. It also reflects the churn of talent particularly in sectors such as construction, accountancy and engineering.”
The new report also found that the customer service, call centres and languages sector, along with the beauty, hair care, leisure and sport, had listed their highest ever number of jobs.
The number of listings for tech companies fell by 30 per cent over the past three quarters, however the sector still accounts for more vacancies than any other sector.
Richard Ramsey said the north’s labour market is set to weaken in coming quarters given the marked deterioration in business conditions that has occurred in the latest quarter.
“It looks increasingly likely that Q2 represented Northern Ireland’s labour market peak for jobs and trough for unemployment,” he said.
“Ongoing Brexit uncertainty has been translating into negative economic and business outcomes.
“Ultimately these outcomes impact on investment plans, staffing levels and the labour market in general.”