Labour Force Survey Quarter 1, 2019

22 May 2019

On May 21st the Central Statistics Office published the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the first quarter of 2019, which covers the months January to March. Unemployment decreased by 14% over the year, bringing the figure down to 114,400 people. The last time the numbers of people who were unemployed was under 120,000 was in Q4 2007. The unemployment rate was 4.8% - the first time it has been below 5% since Quarter 4, 2007. However, the participation rate, at 62% in Q1 2019, was 4.2% points lower in then it was in Q4 2007. 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.

40,900 people were long-term unemployed, which brings this figure back to 2008 levels. In Q4 2008 long-term unemployment accounted for 22.8% of those who were unemployed. In Q1 2019 they represented 35.8% of the people who were unemployed. In Q1 2019 the long-term unemployed rate was 1.7%, the last time this figure was below 2% was Q4 2008. At that stage the overall unemployment rate was 8.1%.

In Q1 2019, 2,301,900 people were employed, a 3.7% increase on the same quarter in 2018. Of this figure, 20.5% or 473,000 were working part-time. Of the people working part-time, 22.6% or 106,900 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, the Border (3.9%), the South-West (4%), Dublin (4.4%) and the Mid-East (4.1%) had lower unemployment rates than the national rate of 4.8%. Four regions had a higher rate and they were the Midlands (6.2%), the South-East (6.7%), the Mid-West (5.5%), and West (5.5%). All regions saw the numbers of people employed in their region increase, and most saw a decrease in the numbers of people unemployed, with the exception of the West which saw a slight increase. Six out of the eight regions saw their participation rate increase, while Dublin saw a slight decrease, and the Midlands experienced a 0.8% decrease. 

Again in this LFS the CSO have revised the Monthly Unemployment figures, however this time they have revised them downwards. So, the Monthly Unemployment Rates (MUR) published for March and April, 2019 have been revised down to 4.7% and 4.6% respectively, from 5.4%. The MUR for people aged 15-24 was 11.2% in March 2019 and 10.3% in April, previously they had been reported as 13.5% and 12.8% respectively. It is April 2008 since the youth unemployment rate was below 11%. 4.4% were the previously report MUR for people aged 25-74 in March and April, 2019. According to this LFS these figures now stand at 3.8% and 3.9% respectively. The last time the Monthly Unemployment Rate for this age group was below 4% was August 2007.