How Unemployment is measured

The official unemployment figures come from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which is published four times a year and uses the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) definition. So people are described as unemployed who, in the week before the survey, were without work and available for work within the next two weeks, and had taken specific steps, in the preceding four weeks, to find work. The age range covered in the LFS is fifteen to seventy-four years. Like the Census, the LFS also asks people to identify their Principal Economic Status. So people are asked to identify themselves as at work or unemployed or a student or engaged on home duties or retired or other.

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Labour Force Survey (LFS)

What is the LFS?

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a large-scale, nationwide survey of households in Ireland. It is designed to produce quarterly labour force estimates that include the official measure of employment and unemployment in the state (ILO basis). The survey began in January 2016 and replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) from January 2017. Under the Labour Force Survey a variety of information is collected and published including on Households and Family Units; Detailed Employment Series; and National Minimum Wage Estimates.

Monthly Unemployment Statistics

In June 2015 the CSO published for the first time the Monthly Unemployment figures which sought to provide more detailed and timely unemployment statistics. The Monthly Unemployment Rate (MUR) replaced the seasonally adjusted Standardised Unemployment Rate (SUR) as the measurement of monthly unemployment. The Monthly Unemployment figures are based primarily on the Labour Force Survey (LFS) with changes in the Live Register being used to produce a monthly estimate for the months in between the LFS.

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Live Register

The Live Register is published monthly and includes people who are on a Jobseeker’s payment, either the Social Insurance payment Jobseeker’s Benefit, or the means-tested payment Jobseeker’s Allowance, and people signing on for credits. Part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance are also included in these figures. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) provide detailed Live Register statistics through their StatBank, breakdown by Age Group, Sex, Nationality, Regional, Social Welfare Office and Month.

CLICK HERE to view the latest Live Register.

Additional Information

The Institute of International and European Affair's (IIEA) Unemployment Puzzle Infographic provides a visual insight into the scale of the jobs crisis facing Europe.

Pobal Maps is Pobal's GIS (Geographical Information System) online application. This system builds upon the Pobal HP Deprivation Index for Small Areas, which provides very detailed information on local areas and gives a score calculated against a national average. The reporting section of the system allows users to download data and reports to their own specific boundary- county, Local Authority, Local Development Company, RAPID etc. Pobal Maps allows users to easily compare and contrast electoral division and now small area profiles in terms of their relative level of affluence or disadvantage. Click here for more information

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. Its task is to provide the European Union with statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions. Eurostat provide a range of employment/unemployment statistics. Click here for more information

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provide a wide range of statistics for OECD countries including statistics on Long Term Unemployment and Youth Unemployment. Click here for more information - keyword search unemployment.