Labour Force Survey Q1 2018

19 Jul 2018

On June 20th 2018 the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for Quarter 1, 2018. According to this survey there were 2,220,500 people employed, an increase of 62,100 on the same quarter in 2017. An additional 72,100 people were in full-time employment, while part-time employment decreased by 9,900. Part-time employment accounts for 20.5% of people in employment. However, 113,700 people who are working part-time described themselves as underemployed, representing 5.1% of those in employment. This figure has increased by 17,600 people over the year, though some of this increase could be a consequence of the changeover from the Quarterly National Household Survey to the Labour Force Survey. It appears to the INOU that the new survey is better at capturing labour market realities.

There were 132,900 people who were unemployed, a decrease of 30,500 over the year. The overall unemployment rate in Q1 2018 was 5.7%, 1.4% lower than the same quarter in 2017, and bringing this rate back to early 2008 levels. 50,100 people were unemployed for more than a year. The long-term unemployment rate was 2.1%, down 1.6% on Q1 2017. In Q1 2009 the long-term unemployment rate was 2.5%, the first time this rate had been more than 2% since Q4 1999.

Looking at long-term unemployment from an age perspective young people aged 15-24 account for 14.4%; people aged 25-44 account for 45.1%; while those aged 45years and over account for 40.5%. Men account for 62.1% of the long-term unemployed, and women account for 37.9%.

The country has been divided into eight regions: Border; Midland; West; Dublin; Mid-East; Mid-West; South-East; and South-West; and these were then grouped together into the Border, Midlands and West (BMW) region, and the Southern and Eastern. These classifications are known as NUTS3 and NUTS2, and they have been reconfigured. There still are eight regions, but some of the counties in these regions have been moved: Louth from the Border region to the Mid-East; and Tipperary South has moved from the South-East region to join Tipperary North in the Mid-West. There now are three NUTS2 classifications: Northern & Western Region; Southern Region; and Eastern & Midland Region. You will find a full explanation on the CSO’s website at but it does seem unfortunate that as we move towards Brexit the region of the country that could be most affected by it has been reclassified.

Looking at the unemployment rate across the regions: the Midlands, South-West and South-East all had rates higher than the State average (5.7%) at 8%, 6.2% and 7.2% respectively. The Participation Rate, which captures the numbers of people in the Labour Force divided by the population was 61.5% at the State level. The only regions with higher Participation Rates were Dublin at 65.6%, and the Mid-East marginally at 61.7%.

One figure that has changed considerably with the new Labour Force Survey, is the Potential Additional Labour Force, which captures people who, all other things being equal, would like a job but are unable to attain one. This group would include people did not answer ‘yes’ to the two questions that must be answered to be classified as ‘unemployed’; and would include people who are long-term unemployed and maybe facing barriers because of their age, background, skills levels; parenting alone; and people living with a disability. This figure stood at 119,200 people in Q1 2018, and highlights the challenge to be addressed if a truly inclusive labour market is to be realised.