Unemployment hits post-crash low of 7.1%

Latest CSO numbers point to continuing improvement in labour market

The State’s unemployment rate has fallen to 7.1 per cent, its lowest level in eight years.

The latest official figures show the number of workers classified as unemployed in January was 154,800. This equated to an annual decrease of 29,800.

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the unemployment rate for men stood at 7.9 per cent last month, down from 8.1 per cent the previous month, and 10.2 per cent in January 2016.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate for women was 6 per cent last month, down from 6.1 per cent in December and 6.6 per cent in January last year.


The State’s youth unemployment rate was 13.5 per cent in January, down from 14.4 per cent recorded the previous month.

“Some commentators had feared that signs of poor export performance in 2016, related to Brexit hurting orders and sterling’s weakness, heralded a broader slowdown in Ireland’s economy,” Davy analyst Conall Mac Coille said.

“Certainly, GDP data in [the first half of] 2016 were not in encouraging, down 2.1 per cent in [the first quarter] and rebounding only slightly by 0.7 per cent in [the second quarter],” he said.

“However, given the 4 per cent rise in GDP in [the third quarter of] 2016, we expect that GDP expanded by 4.8 per cent in calendar year 2016, only a little weaker than our initial 6 per cent forecast,” he said, noting a clear sign Ireland’s recovery remains strong in the labour market.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times