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Labour Force Survey, Quarter 2 2021

24 September 2021 - 11:10 am


On September 24th, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the second quarter of 2021, which covers the months April to June. They continued to provide information using the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) definitions of employment, unemployment and inactivity, and estimated figures taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market.   

Using the standard LFS methodology (ILO), 2,349,100 people were employed in this quarter: an increase of 211,000 on Q2 2020. Full-time employment increased by 101,800 over the year to 1,872,600 people. Part-time employment also increased by 109,100 to 476,500. Over the year employment increased for both men and women. Part-time underemployment also increased: to 53,700 for men and 69,200 for women. In Q2 2020, women accounted for 59% of people who described themselves as underemployed, and in Q2 2021 this figure was 56%.

Over the year the labour force rose by 274,000 to 2,533,200. Two factors influence changes in the Labour Force, the demographic effect, which was positive (+16,100); and the participatory effect, which had an even stronger impact (+257,900). The participation rate in Q2 2021 was 63.1%, a significant improvement on Q2 2020 when it was only 56.9%, the period when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labour market hardest.

In Q2 2021, 184,100 people were unemployed: 63,000 more people than in Q2 2020. The unemployment rate was 7.3%, an increase of 1.9 ppt over the year. The number of people deemed long-term unemployed was 49,500 and the long-term unemployment rate was 2%. In Q2 2020 these figures were 25,700 and 1.1% respectively.  

The Principal Economic Status (PES) captures data on how people described themselves, for example whether they are at work or unemployed or a student or on home duties. In Q2 2021, 218,800 people described themselves as unemployed: a decrease of 56,300 on the same quarter last year. 

The Potential Additional Labour Force (PALF) captures people who may not fit into the official definition of unemployment, whereby people have to be actively seeking work for the previous four weeks and available to take up work in the coming two weeks of the survey.  In Q 2 2021 PALF stood at 178,200: a decrease of 114,200 over the year.  

Impact of COVID-19

When the impact of COVID-19 is factored in and everyone who is on a Pandemic Unemployment Payment is assumed to meet the ILO definition of unemployment, at the end of June the numbers of people unemployed increases to 413,687 with an unemployment rate of 16.2%. While at the end of July 2021, the adjusted measure of unemployment was 356,648 and the unemployment rate was 13.5%. And in August the COVID-19 adjusted unemployment estimate declined to 335,178 and the unemployment rate was 12.4%.

In this Labour Force Survey, the CSO also published a COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Employment for the ends of June, July, and August. Under this measurement, at the end of June the numbers of people employed falls to 2,120,778. While the estimate figures for July and August were 2,185,773 and 2,205,494, reflecting the further re-opening of the economy.