Increasing jobless figures dash hopes of growth
NEW FIGURES show no slowdown in job losses. The number of people at work in the April-June period fell by nearly 14,000, the biggest three-month fall in a year, according to the Central Statistics Office. The figures appear to dash hopes that employment growth is at hand.
They show there were 1,783,400 people employed on a seasonally adjusted basis in the second quarter, meaning there are 357,000 fewer people at work since employment peaked in 2007.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton last night acknowledged the continued fallout from the collapse of the “bubble economy”, but said “the sectors on which we will build the future economy are now showing signs of growth”.
The CSO’s quarterly national household survey is the most comprehensive source of data on employment across the economy. It shows the downward trajectory in job numbers remains broad-based, with most sectors continuing to shed labour.
There were 13,700 fewer people at work in the April-June period compared to three months earlier when seasonal fluctuations are stripped out. Slightly larger numbers left the labour force entirely in the second quarter. This kept the rate of unemployment stable at 14.8 per cent of the labour force.
The survey shows employment in the construction sector has fallen below 100,000 for the first time since the bursting of the property bubble. It fell by another 4,000 on three months earlier to stand at 99,300. Five years ago, 273,000 worked in the industry. The construction sector has accounted for almost half of the total job losses since 2007.
The financial, insurance and real estate sectors employed 96,100 people in the April-June period. This was a decline of almost 4,000 over the quarter is a new post-crash low.
Despite the sector’s property-related focus, the decline in employment has been much less marked than in the building sector. While employment in construction is down 64 per cent since its peak, the fall in finance and real estate has been 12 per cent.
Industry, which includes the large manufacturing sector, also registered a quarterly decline of 4,000 jobs in the April-June period. Despite the solidity of the sector, as measured by output and exports, the numbers employed have fallen from over 300,000 five years ago to 230,200 in the second quarter of 2012.
The largest single employer by sector – wholesalers and retailers – shed 5,000 jobs on the quarter. In the second quarter 258,100 were employed in the sector,
The high-technology sector was one of the few to add jobs in the quarter. An additional 700 jobs were added to bring the total to 76,200. It is the only sector to have grown consistently in recent years.
The hospitality industry and the “professional and technical” sector also registered growth in employment levels in the second quarter compared to the first.
Despite the fall in jobs, the numbers formally defined as unemployed fell by almost 4,000 on the quarter, to stand at 309,000.
This figure is compiled based on harmonised international standards. It differs from the numbers on the Live Register, which stands approximately 50 per cent higher than the formal definition of unemployment.
Responding to yesterday’s figures, Fianna Fáil’s employment spokesman Dara Calleary said the Government’s jobs strategy was not working. The same energy that was going into resolving banking and debt issues should be brought to bear on jobs and growth, he said.
Mark Fielding of the Irish Small Medium Enterprises Association said: “Small businesses . . . will not create new jobs while they continue to suffer increasing state-enforced costs, lack of bank credit and competition from both the black economy and the social welfare system.”