QNHS Q4 2015

22 Feb 2016

On the 23rd February, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the Quarterly National Household Survey for the fourth quarter of 2015. These figures show that employment grew by 2.3% or 44,100 to 1,983,000 over the same quarter in 2014. Full-time employment accounted for 88% of this growth, with construction accounting for 22% of it; accommodation and food storage activities accounted for 13%; and human health and social work activities accounted for 11%. However, it is still 186,600 lower than the employment peak of 2,169,600 seen in Quarter 3, 2007.

Unemployment decreased over the year by 26,100 people to 187,500, a figure last seen in Q4, 2008. 102,100 people were unemployed for more than a year, a decrease by 21,300 people on the same quarter last year, and brings this figure back to levels last seen in Q4, 2009.

Looking at the unemployment rates, in Q4 2015, the unemployment rate was 8.7%, a drop on the year of 1.3%. The long-term unemployment rate was 4.7%, a drop of 1.1% on the year. These declines bring these figures down to end 2008, end 2009 respectively.

In June, 2015, the CSO released the first Monthly Unemployment Rate (MUR), which replaced the seasonally adjusted Standardised Unemployment Rate (SUR), and is produced to provide a detailed series of monthly unemployment estimates. As the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) provides the benchmark estimates, when the most recent QNHS is released the MUR figures are often revised. So, the figures released in early February 2016 have been revised upwards from 9% to 9.1% in September, 2015; 8.9% to 9.1% in October, 2015; 8.8% to 9.1% in November, 2015; 8.8% to 9% in December, 2015; and, 8.6% to 8.9% in January, 2016.

The QNHS also provides information on the Labour Force, which includes people who are employed and unemployed. The Labour Force grew by 18,000 over the period Q4, 2014 to Q4, 2015 to 2,170,500 people. Even with this overall increase, the demographic effect was still negative, arising from the continuing emigration of people aged 20-34 years of age.

Alongside, the Labour Force figures, the CSO also produces the potential additional labour force which helps to capture people who may not be actively seeking work or able to take up work in the shorter term. In Q4 2015, this figure stood at 31,500 people, a decrease of 7,400 on Q4, 2014. It is really important to remember this group when discussing issues of unemployment: as they include people who are facing logistical difficulties such as adequate childcare and transport provision; and, the challenge of finding accessible decent paid employment.