Irish Economy
Irish Census 2011: 82,000 young people under 25 were out of work; 77,460 foreign nationals were unemployed/ 53,000 immigrants arrived in previous 12 months
By Finfacts Team
Jul 26, 2012 - 4:23 PM

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Irish Census 2011:The Central Statistics Office today released the latest publication in its series of Census 2011 results, showing that over 82,000 people under the age of 25 were out of work in April 2011, giving an unemployment rate of 39% amongst the 15-24 age group.77,460 foreign nationals were unemployed and 53,000 people moved to Ireland in previous 12 months.

Today’s publication, 'Profile 3 At Work - Employment, occupations and industry in Ireland”, is the third Profile report examining census results in more detail and presents first results on detailed industry and occupations along with further analysis of the labour market. It looks at the industries and occupations rising and falling as well as examining unemployment with regard to immigration, education and other social and demographic factors.

Deirdre Cullen, senior statistician at the CSO: “This release examines several facets of the labour force as it was in April 2011. It provides more detailed results on industries and occupations as well as analysis by nationality, ability to speak English, social class and field of study. There is a focus on those who were out of work, particularly unemployment among young people and first time jobseekers.”

The full report is available on the CSO website at along with all the data which is available in a range of interactive web tables, allowing users to build their own tables by selecting the data they are interested in and downloading it in an easy to use format for their own analysis. In co-operation with the All Ireland Research Observatory (AIRO) at NUI Maynooth, summary census data is available in thematic maps for Electoral Districts and Small Areas on the AIRO website. Just follow the link from the CSO website.

Cullen concluded “Small area data is an important output from the census. The complete set of results for a range of geographic areas - from the State right down to province, county, town, electoral division and small local areas - will be published in an easy to use interactive mapping application on the CSO web site on Tuesday 31st July next. This new application aims to ensure that census data is readily available to all - and for all areas right across the country - and is an important step in bringing the data alive in a fresh and exciting way making it easier to access for all.”

Highlights of the report


The industry which posted the largest growth in employment was primary education where the numbers of those at work rose by 18,682 to 64,177. There was a 10% rise in the number of people working in farming, bringing the number at work to 80,084. There were 80,645 people working in social work activities, an almost 10% rise on 2006. Employment within computer and related activities rose by 15% to 41,978. Retail sectors also featured among the industries which added the most jobs between 2006 and 2011. Employment in retail in non-specialised stores, largely convenience stores, grew to 57,488 over the 5 years, a rise of 29%.

The largest declining industry was building of constructions and civil engineering where numbers at work fell by over 73,000 to 43,577. In the manufacturing sector, the largest decline was seen in the manufacture of fabricated metal products where numbers at work dropped by almost 11,000 to 12,177.

Occupational groups

Reflecting trends in industry, the occupations experiencing the largest falls in employment were generally related to construction, with building labourers the worst affected occupational group, falling by over 70% to 9,243. The number of builders and building contractors at work declined by over a half to 8,103. Among service occupations, the number of bar staff fell from 14,103 to 11,452, a decline of 19% with waiters and waitresses falling by 13% to 12,269.

There was a 31% increase in the number of primary and nursery teachers between 2006 and 2011, bringing the number at work to 40,989. Also registering strong employment growth were auctioneers, estimators and other sales representatives increasing 76% to 20,870. Several managerial occupations also grew strongly with over 7,000 additional marketing managers at work, an increase of almost one quarter and an increase of almost 22% in the number of general managers in large companies.

Youth Unemployment

There were over 82,000 people under the age of 25 out of work in April 2011, up from 47,122 in 2006, resulting in an unemployment rate of 39%. Limerick city and Donegal had the highest levels of youth unemployment with rates of 50 and 49% respectively.

Unemployment in this age group varied significantly with educational levels There was 70% unemployment amongst people educated to primary level only compared with 18% for those with third level qualifications.

First Time Job seekers

There were 34,166 people looking for their first regular job in April 2011. 57% of these were male and over 60% were aged between 15 and 24. This represented an increase of 16% in the number of first time jobseekers compared with April 2006. Just over a quarter of the usually resident first time jobseekers were non-Irish.


One in five unemployed people in April 2011 were non-Irish nationals, accounting for 77,460 persons overall. Amongst non-Irish nationals, Nigerians had the highest unemployment rate at 39% (down from 45% in 2006) while nationals from the Nordic countries had the lowest rates.

Over 53,000 people moved to Ireland in the year leading up to April 2011 and of these 47,111 were aged 15 or over, with just over 37% of this group being Irish. Unemployment among these Irish one-year immigrants stood at just over 33% compared with a lower rate of 26% for non-Irish immigrants.


Among foreign language speakers, those who spoke English well or very well were much less likely to be unemployed. Almost one third of those who did not speak English well or at all in the labour force were unemployed.

The two biggest employing sectors for those who did not speak English well or at all were restaurants and building and landscape maintenance. 12% or 4,149 of the people in this group worked as cleaners, making it by far the largest occupational group.


The average rate of unemployment for those with a third level qualification was 8% compared to the 19% unemployment rate for the State overall.

High unemployment rates were found amongst those with fine arts (18%), audio visual and media production (17%) and hair and beauty services (17%) qualifications. Only 2% or 1,072 people with a third level nursing qualification were unemployed.

Socio-Economic Group

Farmers and professionals had the lowest unemployment rates among census socio-economic groups in 2011. Just under 4,000 farmers, or one in twenty, were unemployed while 6% of higher professionals and 7% of those in the lower professional group were unemployed. In contrast one in three workers in both the manual skilled and unskilled groups were out of work.

As with the general population, unemployment among women was lower than for men across almost all socio-economic groups. This was most pronounced for unskilled workers. While more than four in ten unskilled male workers were unemployed, only 18% of female unskilled workers were jobless.

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