back to articles

Labour Force Survey, Quarter 3 2021

26 November 2021 - 11:01 am


On November 25th the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the third quarter of 2021, which covers the months July to September. 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), 2,471,200 people were employed in this quarter: an increase of 221,200 on Q3 2020. Full-time employment increased by 108,900 over the year to 1,937,900 people. Part-time employment also increased by 112,300 to 533,300. Over the year employment increased for both men and women. Part-time underemployment also increased to 110,100 people, however, it decreased for men to 45,600, while increasing for women to 64,500. In Q3 2020, women accounted for 56% of people who described themselves as underemployed, and in Q3 2021 this figure rose to 59%.

Over the year the labour force rose by 191,100 to 2,620,300. Two factors influence changes in the Labour Force, the demographic effect, which was positive (+15,900); and the participatory effect, which had an even stronger impact (+175,300). The participation rate in Q3 2021 was 65.1%, four percentage points higher than Q3 2020 when it was 61%. The participation rate measures the share of the total population aged 15 years and over who are in the labour force. The labour force consists of people who are in employment plus people who are unemployed. The last time the participation rate was 65.1% was Quarter 4, 2008.

In Q3 2021, 149,100 people were unemployed: 30,000 less people than in Q3 2020. The unemployment rate was 5.7%, a decrease of 1.7 ppt over the year. The number of people deemed long-term unemployed was 45,100, and the long-term unemployment rate was 1.7%. In Q3 2020 these figures were 34,600 and 1.4% 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 Q3 2021, 185,700 people described themselves as unemployed: a decrease of 68,400 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 Q3 2021 PALF stood at 106,000 people: a decrease of 69,100 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, the numbers of people unemployed increases to 232,866 at the end September, 2021. While the unemployment rate is estimated to be 8.9%. In this LFS, the CSO also produced a COVID-19 adjusted measurement of unemployment for the end of October, 2021: unemployment was deemed to be 205,246 people, with an unemployment rate of 7.9%.

The COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Employment in Q3 2021 was 2,369,731, an increase of 336,991 on the same quarter in 2020. While the employment rate was 69.1%, an increase of 9.4 percentage points. The CSO also produced COVID-19 adjusted employment measurement for the end of October, 2021: employment increased further to 2,393,394 people, and the employment rate was estimated to be 69.8%.