Labour Force Survey Quarter 3 2019

19 Nov 2019

On November 19th, 2019 the Central Statistics Office published the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the third quarter of 2019, which covers the months July to September. Unemployment decreased by 11% over the year, bringing the figure down to 128,000 people. The unemployment rate was 5.2%, a decrease of 0.8 in comparison to the third quarter of 2018.

34,900 people were long-term unemployed. The last time the numbers of people who are long-term unemployed was under 40,000 was Q2 2008, when 37,600 people were long-term unemployed.  In Q3 2019 people who were long-term unemployed accounted for 27.3% of the people who were unemployed; while in Q3 2008 they accounted for 26%.  In Q3, 2019 the long-term unemployed rate was 1.4%, the last time it was under 1.5% was Q4, 2007 when it was also 1.4%.

In Q3 2019, 2,326,900 people were employed, a 2.4% increase on the same quarter in 2018. Of this figure, 20.3% or 473,500 were working part-time. And of the people working part-time, 23.6% or 111,800 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 West (5%), the Mid-West (4.8%), the South-West (5.1%) and Dublin (4.5%) had lower unemployment rates than the national rate of 5.2%. The Border (5.4%), the South-East (7.3%), the Mid-East (6.1%) and the Midlands (5.3%) had a higher unemployment rate. Six regions saw the numbers of people employed in their region increase, however the Border and South-West saw declines of 0.9% and 1.3% respectively. Five regions saw a decrease in the numbers of people unemployed, but the Border, South-West and Mid-East saw increases of 6.3%, 2.9% and 10.4% respectively.

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 in Q3 2019 was 62.5%, marginally lower than the rate in Q3 2018 (62.6%). Looking at this rate from a regional perspective, five regions saw their participation rate decrease, and three saw it increase.

Looking at these figures from an age perspective, the age group with the highest unemployment rate were young people aged 15-19 years of age (22.7%). The age group with the lowest was people aged 65+. This age group also had the lowest participation rate, at 12.3%. In many ways this is as expected since many people in this age group are retired. However, as Ireland’s pension age increases, older people’s desire and need to secure employment will need to be addressed. Most young people aged 15-19 are in education or training, so their low participation rate of 27.3% is unsurprising, but the high unemployment rate indicates that for those young people who are in the labour force securing employment remains a challenge.