Employment set to top 2 million after strong quarter of growth

Latest figures show significant drop in youth unemployment

The total number of people in the labour force in the first quarter of 2016 was 2.16 million, an increase of 13,600 over the year. The number of people not in the labour force in the first quarter was 1.47 million, a rise of 5,300 in the year.

The total number of people in the labour force in the first quarter of 2016 was 2.16 million, an increase of 13,600 over the year. The number of people not in the labour force in the first quarter was 1.47 million, a rise of 5,300 in the year.

 

The number of people working in the State is on course to reach two million this year, analysts said, after the jobless rate dipped below 8 per cent for the first time since the crash.

Female employment is rising at a faster rate than male employment, but new data also points to a strong rebound in construction employment . As recovery proceeds, the high rate of youth unemployment is also in decline.

The Central Statistics office said the official unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 per cent in the first three months of the year from 9 per cent in the final quarter of 2015.

In addition, a revision of monthly data in the lastest quarterly household survey showed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.9 per cent in April from 8.1 per cent in March. The jobless rate in April 2015 was 9.8 per cent and it was 11.8 per cent in April 2014.

“The data released today show that the numbers at work continue to grow and that the level of employment is now just shy of the two million mark. We have now seen 14 consecutive quarters of employment growth,” said Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion strockbrokers, said the labour market had improved dramatically. This was in keeping with the accelerating recovery, even though emigration had been a factor to some extent in keeping unemployment down.

“Consecutive gains in employment have been posted in the past three years and the Department of Finance is projecting that Ireland will pass the two million people in employment mark in 2016 and replace all of the jobs lost during the downturn by 2018. All in all, it is hard to disagree with this assumption,” said Mr McQuaid.




The decline in the jobless rate came as number of people working in the State rose by 46,900 or 2.4 per cent in the year to end March, the CSO said.

Female workers accounted for the bulk of the increase, with the number of working rising by 27,900 in the year. The number of males at work rose by 19,000 in same period.

Youth unemployment fell to 16.9 per cent in the year to the first quarter of 2016 from 21.5 per cent 12 months previously.

Services

The largest rates of increased employment was in the administrative and support service activities, which rose by 6,100 or 9.9 per cent, and in the construction sector, which rose by 9,500 or 7.8 per cent.

The biggest decline in employment was in financial, insurance and real estate activities, which eased by 1,500.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of people at work rose by 15,400 or 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 over the final three months of 2015. This followed a seasonally adjusted quarterly increase in employment of 6,600 or 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Unemployment decreased by 33,300 or 15.7 per cent in the year to the first quarter of 2016, bringing the total number of persons unemployed to 179,500.

“The long-term unemployment rate decreased from 6 per cent to 4.7 per cent over the year to [the first quarter of] 2016,” said the CSO.

“Long-term unemployment accounted for 56.1 per cent of total unemployment in [the first quarter of] 2016 compared with 59.7 per cent a year earlier and 60.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2014.”

In the year to the first quarter of 2016, the number of persons classified as long-term unemployed declined by 26,500 or 20.9 per cent. This brought total long-term unemployment to 100,600.

Short-term unemployment decreased by 11,300 or 13.7 per cent in the year, to 71,200.

The total number of people in the labour force in the first quarter of 2016 was 2.16 million, an increase of 13,600 over the year. The number of people not in the labour force in the first quarter was 1.47 million, a rise of 5,300 in the year.

.