Jobs rebound a key positive amid economic uncertainty

Employment has risen from 1.825m in early 2012 back to 2.040m, a gain of 215,000

Construction and hospitality sector have been among biggest gainers over past year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Construction and hospitality sector have been among biggest gainers over past year. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A lot of the year has been spent debating the shortcomings of the economic recovery and worrying about what comes next – after the Brexit vote in particular. But as thousands return to Ireland from abroad for the Christmas break – some forced to emigrate by economic circumstances, others who chose to – there is one positive worth focusing on.

The bounce back in the Irish jobs market from the crash has been extraordinary. There won’t be jobs for all the returning emigrants. But, if they choose, they are options here for many of them now. And these are not all “ high-end” tech jobs, with construction and the hospitality sector among the biggest gainers over the past year.

Huge numbers of jobs were lost during the collapse. Total employment peaked at 2.169 million people in the third quarter of 2007. In the crash, this total fell by 344,000.

Recouped

There is no element of “leprechaun economics” about the jobs figures. The bulk of the new jobs are full-time. They are being created in a range of sectors – in the past year, job numbers rose in 12 of the 14 economic sectors covered by the CSO. And the unemployment rate has now fallen in each quarter for more than four years.

Unemployment among 15- to 24-year-olds is still way too high at 15 per cent – it peaked at twice this level during the collapse.

But the jobs market has been moving in the right direction. A key marker for 2017 will be whether this improving trend can continue.

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