Unemployment still falling but headline rate revised up to 5.6%

Latest official data shows number of workers classified as unemployed fell to 133,800 last month

The employment rate for mothers in the Republic where the youngest child is aged three to five is 54.5 per cent, compared with an OECD average of 68.8 per cent

The employment rate for mothers in the Republic where the youngest child is aged three to five is 54.5 per cent, compared with an OECD average of 68.8 per cent

 

The Republic’s unemployment rate is still falling but the official rate for August has been revised up to 5.6 per cent from 5.1 per cent in July.The revision comes as a result of new population estimates, published earlier this month by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The latest monthly jobless figures, however, show the number of workers classified as unemployed fell by 5,100 to 133,800 on a seasonally adjusted basis in August, which equates to an annual decrease of 20,800.

Having peaked at 15.9 per cent at the height of the crash in 2012, the State’s jobless rate is now three points below the euro zone average of 8.2 per cent.

On current trends it could fall below 5 per cent next year, a rate which equates to full employment in the Republic.

However, the focus of late has been on participation rates, particularly among women, which remain low by international standards.

Currently, the employment rate for mothers in the Republic where the youngest child is aged three to five is 54.5 per cent, compared with an OECD average of 68.8 per cent.

Childcare costs

A report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) this week linked high childcare costs to lower rates of employment among women in the Republic.

Increasing labour force participation may help address the skills shortages beginning to emerge in certain sectors.

“The rise in employment appears far from over,” Merrion analyst Alan McQuaid, noting the latest Labour Force Survey figures showed that the participation rate stood at 62.3 per cent in the second quarter, compared with a pre-recession peak of 66.7 per cent.

“Greater participation should slow down the fall in the jobless rate. There was an average net jobs rise of 61,300 in 2017,” he said.

“As regards 2018, another positive year for the labour market is envisaged, with the net jobs gain forecast at 68,000,” Mr McQuaid said.