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Employment and Unemployment in 2018

"It is interesting to note that even though seasonally adjusted employment is at an all-time high, the Participation Rate has remained flat"

On February 19th 2019 the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for Quarter 4, 2018. According to this survey there were 2,281,300 people employed, an increase of 50,500 on the same quarter in 2017. An additional 48,200 people were in full-time employment, and 2,300 people in part-time employment. Part-time employment accounts for 20% of people in employment. 108,500 people who are working part-time described themselves as underemployed i.e. they working less hours than they would like, 6,900 fewer people than in Quarter 4 2017. In that quarter people who were underemployed accounted for 5.2% of the employed, in Q4 2018 this figure had fallen to 4.8% of those in employment. 

In their release the CSO notes that seasonally adjusted employment is at an all-time high, at 2,272,200. The highest this figure stood pre-crisis was 2,237,300 in Q4 2007. 

There were 128,800 people who were unemployed, a decrease of 15,200 over the year. The overall unemployment rate in Q4 2018 was 5.4%, 0.7% lower than the same quarter in 2017. Looking at this rate from a gender perspective, the female and the male unemployment rates were both 5.4%. Young women, aged 15-19 years, had the highest unemployment rate at 19.1% in Q4 2018, while men aged 65+ has the lowest rate at 1.3%. 

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.7%. On foot of this Labour Force Survey data the CSO revised the Monthly Unemployment Rates published for December 2018 and January 2019: the new rates are now 5.7% in comparison to 5.3%.

50,100 people were unemployed for more than a year. The long-term unemployment rate was 2.1%, down 0.4% on Q4 2017. Looking at long-term unemployment from an age perspective young people aged 15-24 account for 15.8%; people aged 25-44 account for 43.1%; while those aged 45years and over account for 41.1%. Men account for 61% of the long-term unemployed, and women account for 39%.

The country has been divided into eight regions: Border; West; Mid-West; South-East; South-West; Dublin; Mid-East; and Midland. Four regions had unemployment rates higher than the State’s rate of 5.4%: the West at 5.8%; the Mid-West at 5.6%; the South-East at 7.7%; and the Midlands at 6.6%.

The State’s Participation Rate, which is arrived at by dividing the Labour Force by the total population aged 15+ years, stood at 62.2%. This rate was lower in the four regions with a higher unemployment rate. Two regions had a higher participation rate and they were the Mid-East at 64.1% and Dublin at 66%. These two regions also had lower unemployment rates: 4.9% and 5% respectively. Two regions had lower participation and unemployment rates: the Border region and the South-West. The participation rate in the Border region was 58.1% and their unemployment rate was 3.8%. The same figures for the South-West were 61.2% and 5.3%. 

It is interesting to note that even though seasonally adjusted employment is at an all-time high, the Participation Rate has remained flat, varying between 61%-63% since Q4 2010, and 5.2% lower than its highest point in Q3 2007.          

The Labour Force consists of people who are unemployed and employed. The CSO also produces the Potential Additional Labour Force (PALF) which consists of two groups ‘persons seeking work but not immediately available’ and ‘persons available for work but not seeking’. This figure captures people who are unemployed but may have lost heart seeking work; people who may face logistical challenges including childcare and transport; people who face marginalisation and exclusion in the labour market because of, for example, their age; ethnicity; disability; family status; socio-economic status. In Quarter 4, 2018 PALF stood at 108,300 people, 3,000 fewer people than in Q4 2017.

To read the full Labour Force Survey Quarter 4, 2018 please follow this link https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/lfs/labourforcesurveyquarter42018/