Number out of work falls - CSO
The number of unemployed people in the State fell in the last quarter for the first time since the beginning of 2005, according to figures published today.
The Central Statistics Office Quarterly National Household Survey showed there were 324,500 people out of work at the end of September, a decline of 1.1 per cent, or 3,600 in the year.
The figures show the number of unemployed men fell by 2,700 (1.2 per cent) over the year to 213,300, with the number of women out of work falling by 900 (0.8 per cent) to 111,200.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 per cent to 14.8 per cent during the nine months to the end of September. The jobless rate among men stood at 17.8 per cent and woman at 11.5 per cent.
Despite the fall in joblessness, the number of people working in the State fell by 0.2 per cent (4,300) in the year to the end of September, bringing the total number in employment down to 1,841,300. The reduction was likely caused by people leaving the country, retiring or returning to education.
It compares with an annual decrease in employment of 1.3 per cent in the previous quarter and a decrease of 2.1 per cent in the same period last year.
Merrion Stockbrokers economist Alan McQuaid said falling unemployment and recent jobs announcements gave some grounds for optimism but that the “bottom line is that the labour market remains very weak”.
“Many young Irish people are either staying on in education or moving abroad to avail of significant job opportunities in the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Canada,” he said.
“But there is no easy fix to the unemployment problem, and things are unlikely to significantly improve on the jobs front until the economy starts to grow again on a sustained basis. Overdoing it on the fiscal austerity front is certainly not the answer in the current environment.”
The total number of persons in the labour force in the third quarter of this year was 2,165,800, a decrease of 7,900 (0.4 per cent) over the year.
This compares with an annual labour force decrease of 23,000 (1 per cent) in the same period last year.
Employment fell in five of the 14 economic sectors over the year. The greatest rate of decline continues to come in construction (down 6.8 per cent or 7,400), followed by transportation and storage (down 6.6 per cent or 6,300) and administration and support service activities (down 4.1 per cent or 2,900).
Long-term unemployed persons - those out of work for one year or more - now account for 59.5 per cent of all those out of work. The figure increased by 1,400 (0.7 per cent), the slowest rate for some time, in the year to the end of September, bringing total long-term unemployment to 193,000.
Small business group Isme said the figures highlighted that the Government needed to prioritise employment initiatives in next Wednesday’s budget and reassess its "ineffective job’s strategy".
“The main task of this Government is to foster an environment in which real employment can be created. The budget must be used innovatively to prime the pump with a financial package that subsidises additional jobs created," Isme chief executive Mark Fielding said.
"The cost will be more than repaid to the exchequer in extra consumer spend, leading to an increase in confidence to revive the economy.”