Number working in Ireland passes two million for first time since 2009

Unemployment fell by 23,400 in year to end of June, lowering total to 187,800

CSO figures show  an annual increase in employment of 2.9 per cent, or 56,200, in the second quarter of 2016, bringing the total to 2.01 million

CSO figures show an annual increase in employment of 2.9 per cent, or 56,200, in the second quarter of 2016, bringing the total to 2.01 million

 

The number of people working in the State has reached two million for the first time since 2009.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show there was an annual increase in employment of 2.9 per cent, or 56,200, in the second quarter of 2016, bringing the total to 2.01 million. This is still 6.8 per cent below the peak of 2.16 million recorded in 2007.

Unemployment fell by 23,400, or 11.1 per cent, in the 12 months to the end of June, pushing the total number out of work down to 187,800. This marked the 16th consecutive quarter in which unemployment has fallen.

However, the seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rates have been revised up, with the July rate now at 8.3 per cent as against the previous 7.8 per cent. The revision was put down to an increase in the labour force, rather than a hike in newly unemployed people.

Migration

The CSO’s latest Quarterly National Household Survey coincided with population statistics which showed net inward migration of 3,100 in the year to April as against net outward migration of 11,600 for the equivalent period last year.

The latest employment numbers are one of the most useful indicators of activity in the Irish economy given the volatility in gross domestic product (GDP), which was recently revised up to show 26 per cent growth for 2015.

They show employment growth accelerated to 1 per cent in the second quarter, corresponding to about 20,000 jobs, up from 0.8 per cent in the previous three months and 0.4 per cent in the final quarter of 2015.

Employment increased in 12 of the 14 economic sectors covered by the CSO’s survey. The largest increases were in administrative and support services (9.9 per cent), which include services to building, and in construction (8.7 per cent).

The greatest fall in employment was in finance, insurance and real estate, which fell 1.1 per cent.

During the second quarter, the number in full-time employment rose by 44,900 ( up 3 per cent), while there was an increase in part-time employment of 11,400 (up 2.5 per cent).

Employment in the services sector rose by 31,600, or 2.2 per cent, year on year, while employment in industry rose by 3.7 per cent.

Boost to State

Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor said all regions of the country saw a fall in unemployment in the past year.

“These figures today from the CSO are very encouraging and continue to show that the numbers of people employed in full-time jobs is increasing steadily,” she said.

“Having two million people now at work will also give a boost to the State as only a strong economy, supporting people at work, can pay for the services needed to create a fair society,” the Minister said.

Ibec’s director of policy Fergal O’Brien said the employment numbers were the best indicator of the health of the domestic economy.

“Today’s numbers provide clear evidence of further strong domestic growth. Given concerns over the most recent GDP numbers, these figures point clearly to a rapidly expanding economy, growing at around 5 per cent per annum,” Mr O’Brien said.

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said: “Although emigration has been a factor to some degree in keeping unemployment down since the financial crisis, the labour market has improved dramatically over the past two/three years, reflecting the strengthening of the economic recovery.”