Unemployment rate falls to a new post-crash low of 7.2%

Number of people unemployed was 157,700 last month, down 35,500 since last December

The youth unemployment rate fell to 14.5 per cent in December 2016, from 15.4 per cent in November.

The youth unemployment rate fell to 14.5 per cent in December 2016, from 15.4 per cent in November.

 

The Republic’s unemployment rate fell to a new post-crash low of 7.2 per cent in December, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

This is the lowest level since August 2008 and compares with a rate of 7.3 per cent in November and 8.9 per cent for December 2015.

The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed was 157,700 last month, down from 160,500 when compared to the preceding month’s figure and a decrease of 35,500 when compared to December 2015.

The number of men unemployed fell to 8.1 per cent in December, down from 8.4 per cent in November and from 10.6 per cent for the same month a year earlier. Overall, there were 97,1000 men unemployed last month, a decrease of 2,7000 compared to November.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for females in December was 6.1 per cent, unchanged from November but down from 6.9 per cent for the same month in 2015.The number of women unemployed totalled 60,600, down 100 from the previous month.

The youth unemployment rate fell to 14.5 per cent in December 2016, from 15.4 per cent in November.

There was an average unemployment rate of 8 per cent in 2016, down from 9.5 per cent a year earlier.

Davy economist David McNamara said he expects unemployment to average about 7.3 per cent in 2017 as the growth in the labour force picks up and jobs growth softens somewhat. Merrion chief economist Alan McQuaid forecasts a rate of 7.4 per cent, notwithstanding Brexit risks, with a net jobs rise of 35,000 anticipated.

Despite the improvement in figures last year, the level of employment in the third quarter at 2.03 million was still 6.2 per cent below the 2.16 million peak recorded in 2008.