Unemployment remains unchanged at 5.3% for fourth month running

CSO data show number of people classified as unemployed was 126,900 in September

 

The State’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.3 per cent for a fourth month running in September, according to the latest official figures.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the seasonally adjusted number of people classified as unemployed was 126,900 in September, down 600 on the previous month. This gave rise to a headline rate of 5.3 per cent, down from 5.6 per cent a year ago.

The current rate is almost 11 percentage points lower than the 16 per cent rate recorded at the peak of the financial crisis in 2012. It is also two percentage points lower than the current euro zone average of 7.4 per cent.

The 5.3 per cent rate is higher than 5 per cent rate reported earlier in the year but CSO insists the underlying trend is still downward in keeping with the growth in employment.

Participation rates, particularly for women, however, remain lower than at the peak of the boom or by international standards. The State’s youth unemployment rate was put at 14.8 per cent in September, unchanged from the previous month.

“The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 per cent in September, against the backdrop of the external risks of Brexit and US/China trade wars,”

Pawel Adrjan, economist at recruitment website Indeed, said.

“ Notwithstanding the increase, the labour market in Ireland has significantly outperformed other countries in the European Union over the past 6 years, with employment growth in Ireland of almost 3 per cent per annum, nearly treble the EU28 average of less than 1 per cent,” he said.

“Demand for staff is strong across most parts of the economy with the construction sector particularly competitive,” he said.

Mr Adrjan said the impact of a hard Brexit remains a considerable downside risk, with rural Ireland considerably more exposed than Dublin.

“ The Border counties of Cavan and Monaghan have the biggest proportion of jobs in Brexit-exposed sectors. Counties with a strong reliance on agriculture - including Tipperary, Wexford and Kilkenny - are also heavily exposed given the shock to food exports to the UK that a no-deal Brexit could mean,” he said.