Employment and Unemployment both up in latest QNHS

30 Nov 2005

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed welcomes the increases in the labour force and in employment, as contained in the latest Quarterly National household Survey (QNHS), for Qtr. 3 of 2005 (up to August). The labour force has increased by almost 100,000 year-on-year and those in employment have increased by over 96,000. It is very likely that we will find 2 million in employment in the next QNHS. “The increasing numbers in the labour force and in employment and the resultant increases in employment rates is encouraging news,” said Eric Conroy, INOU General Secretary. “It shows that Ireland is well on its way in meeting the challenging EU Lisbon Agenda employment targets for 2010”.

However, the INOU is concerned at the make-up of this employment growth. The construction industry increased by over 30,000 in the year to bring employment in this sector to over a quarter of a million workers (or more than one in eight of the workforce). This level of employment growth cannot be sustained when building needs in the economy are met in the near future. The Other Production sector reduced by 11,000 in the same period, which shows the ongoing decline of manufacturing in the country.

On the other hand, unemployment is increasing and the breakdown of it shows worrying categories and components of the unemployment total. The unadjusted number has risen by 11,100 over 12 months to 96,700, which is the highest in two years. The Personal Economic Status (PES), whereby respondents to the survey classify themselves as being unemployed has increased by 2,100 to 119,800. This figure is always considerably in excess of the headline ILO unemployment statistic. Category S3, which adds marginally attached and others who would like work to the base unemployed figure has risen to 7.9% of the workforce. “Unemployment is not all about the main ILO rate,” said Mr. Conroy. “It is a very tight definition, whereby (inter alia) working only one hour a week constitutes employment”.

The unemployment rate for the South-East region has shot up to 6.7% (nearly 15,000), which is the highest rate in six years, and the highest in the state. This reflects ongoing high levels of redundancies in this unemployment-affected region (eg Carlow Sugar Co.). This statistic could get worse in the months ahead as it does not include Waterford Glass and announced job losses for 2006 (including Kilmeadon in Waterford).

Youth unemployment has increased significantly in the quarter to 9.7% which is well over twice the national average. This reflects high youth unemployment across Europe. “Society must examine why such high numbers of our youth are forced into unemployment, said Mr. Conroy. “We in the INOU are calling for labour market measures to reduce youth unemployment, in the next round of social partnership”, he added.