Quarterly National Household Survey: First Quarter 2016
On the 24th May, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the Quarterly National Household Survey for the first quarter of 2016. Employment increased by 46,900 people over the year to 1,976,500 people, but is down on the last quarter 2015 by 6,500. Over the year employment grew in twelve of the fourteen sectors, with two sectors accounting for a third of the increase: administrative and support service activities; and construction.
Construction employment now stands at 131,300, bringing it back to Quarter 1 2010 levels, but a far cry off the employment levels seen at the height of the Celtic Tiger when construction employment reached 273,900 in Quarter 2, 2007.
Unemployment decreased over the year by 33,300 and now stands at 179,500, bringing it back to Quarter 4, 2008 levels. The unemployment rate is now 8.4%. At the end of 2008, beginning of 2009 when the crisis hit and unemployment jumped very dramatically, the unemployment rate went from 7.7% in Q4 2008 to 10.3% in Q1 2009.
100,600 people or 56% of the overall figure, have been unemployed for more than a year, levels last seen at the end of 2009. The Long-term Unemployment Rate now stands at 4.7%, similar to the rate in the last quarter of 2009. During the noughties long-term unemployment was in and around a third of unemployment, as the crisis deepened this percentage increased to over a half.
Looking at the unemployment figures from a regional perspective, in four out of the eight regions the country is divided up into, their unemployment rate was lower than the national average of 8.4%. These regions were South-West, Mid-West, Mid-East and Dublin. While the South-East had the highest unemployment rate at 12.5%, followed by the Midlands with 11.6%. As noted earlier employment is up annually by 46,900 across the State, however it decreased in two of the regions, Mid-East and the West.
Another key statistic published is the Participation Rate, which is the number of people in employment or unemployed divided by the population. So this figure helps to capture the impact of people who are not actively seeking work, unavailable to take up work, people who are studying, people who are working in the home, and changes in population. The national Participation Rate in Q1 2016 was 59.5% and the only region with a higher rate was Dublin at 62.9%. The region with the lowest rate was the Border region at 56.3%.
As noted at the INOU’s Annual Delegate Conference on 25th May, there are particular challenges facing rural Ireland in addressing unemployment, not least of which is the availability of decent jobs and accessible transport. However, delegates also noted the reality and challenges of structural unemployment in disadvantaged urban areas, local challenges which can be masked by regional statistics.
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