Numbers working in Republic up by 3.4% to 2.7m in 2023

Overall employment for those aged 15 to 64 increased to 74% in the last quarter, according to Central Statistics Office data

A queue for unemployment benefit outside Bishop Street Social Welfare Office in Dublin this morning.   Photograph: Frank Miller  /	THE IRISH TIMES

dole unemployment assistance labour laid off jobless jobseekers

The number of people employed in the State grew by 3.4 per cent last year to more than 2.7 million by the final quarter, with employment growth strongest in the education sector, as well as in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

The Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) latest labour force survey shows the number of employed people aged between 15 and 89 reached 2.71 million in the last quarter of 2023, an annual increase of 89,600.

The overall employment rate for those aged 15-64 was 74 per cent in quarter four of 2023, up from 73.3 per cent in the same quarter in 2022, and 73 per cent in 2021.

Last quarter the employment rate for men stood at 78.3 per cent, compared to 69.8 per cent for women.


The economic sectors that experienced the largest growth in employment in the year to quarter four of 2023 were education (up 12.2 per cent, gaining 25,500 people) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (growing by 9 per cent or by 9,300 people).

The sectors marked by the biggest decline over the same period were transportation and storage (shrinking by 5,500 people or 4.8 per cent) and the administrative and support service activities sector (declining by 3.9 per cent or by 4,300 people).

There were 117,700 unemployed people (aged between 15 and 74) in the State in the final quarter of 2023, with an unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent, up from 4.1 per cent at the end of 2022.

Youth unemployment for those aged between 15 and 24 was 9.4 per cent in quarter four of 2023, up from 9.1 per cent in 2022.

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The number of people unemployed for at least a year was 29,500 in the last quarter, equating to a long-term unemployment rate of 1.1 per cent. This was a reduction of 4,900 people compared to quarter four of 2022 when the long-term unemployment rate was 1.3 per cent.

The total estimated labour force stood at 2.82 million in quarter four of 2023, up 3.5 per cent compared to a year previously. The estimated participation rate last quarter was 65.4 per cent, up from 64.6 per cent in 2022.

In the final quarter of 2023, the number of hours worked per week was 82.5 million, an increase of 300,000 hours or 0.4 per cent on figures a year previously.

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is an Irish Times journalist.