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Contents for Issue September 2019

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Latest Unemployment Figures

The dramatic difference over the last decade is partially explained by how this information is now captured, and it gives a better picture of the employment challenge that still faces so many people.

On August 27th, 2019 the Central Statistics Office published the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the second quarter of 2019, which covers the months April to June. Unemployment decreased by 9.4% over the year, bringing the figure down to 130,800 people. The unemployment rate was 5.4%, a decrease of 0.6 in comparison to the second quarter of 2018, and similar to the rate in early 2008.

Long-term unemployment

40,800 people were long-term unemployed and the long-term unemployed rate was 1.7%. In Q2 2018 these figures stood at 48,900 and 2% respectively. In Q2 2019 people who were long-term unemployed accounted for 31.2% of the people who were unemployed; while in Q2 2018 they accounted for 33.9%. In Q2 2008 long-term unemployment accounted for 26% of people who were unemployed.

Regional figures

Looking at these figures from a regional perspective, the Border (3.6%), Dublin (4.4%) and the Mid-East (5.3%) had lower unemployment rates than the national rate of 5.4% in Q2 2019. Five regions had a higher rate and they were the South-West (5.5%), the Mid-West (6.1%), West (6.3%), the Midlands (6.6%), and the South-East (8.1%). Five regions saw a decrease in the numbers of people unemployed, but the Mid-West, South-East and South-West saw increases of 6%, 10.8% and 2.7% respectively.

Participation Rate

The Participation Rate is the number of people in the labour force i.e. those employed plus those unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the total population aged 15 or over. The participation rate, at 62.1% in Q2 2019, 0.2% lower than in Q2 2018. In Q2 2008 the participation rate was 66.1%. Looking at this rate from a regional perspective, four regions saw their participation rate decrease, three saw it increase, while one remained unchanged in Q2 2019 in comparison to Q2 2018.

Potential Additional Labour Force

In Q2 2019 the Potential Labour Force stood at 127,100. Amongst the people this figure captures are people who are unemployed who are not classified as such because they did not answer ‘yes’ to two questions: firstly, that they were actively seeking work; and secondly, that they were available to take up work. There are many reasons people may not answer these questions positively: loss of confidence in find a job as previous job searches have been unsuccessful; caring responsibilities that take time to accommodate; lack of accessible transport; lack of employment that matches their skills and abilities. In Q2 2018 this figure stood at 131,900, and in Q2 2008 it was 22,300. The dramatic difference over the last decade is partially explained by how this information is now captured, and it gives a better picture of the employment challenge that still faces so many people.

Monthly Unemployment figures

Again in this LFS the CSO have revised the Monthly Unemployment figures, however this time they have revised them upwards. So, the Monthly Unemployment Rates (MUR) published for June and July, 2019 have been revised up to 5.3% from 4.5% and 4.6% respectively. In the July the MUR given for people aged 15-24 in June 2019 and July were 10.1% and 10.3% respectively, the revised figures are considerably higher at 14.7% and 14.5%. 3.8% was the previously report MUR for people aged 25-74 in June and July, 2019. According to this LFS these figures now stand at 4% and 4.1% respectively.

Employment

In Q2 2019, 2,300,000 people were employed, a 2% increase on the same quarter in 2018. Of this figure, 20% or 462,000 were working part-time. And of the people working part-time, 24.5% or 113,000 people described themselves as underemployed i.e. they would like to work more hours than they currently can acquire. Looking at these figures from a regional perspective, six regions saw the numbers of people employed in their region increase, however the South-East and South-West saw declines of 2.3% and 2% respectively.