Irish Economy
Irish Economy 2014: Number of employees remains below bailout quarter of 2010
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
May 27, 2014 - 6:08 AM

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Irish Economy 2014: The official rise in employment in the first quarter of this year compared with the fourth quarter of 2010 when Ireland agreed to the international bailout is 31,000 according to Central Statistics Office (CSO) Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) data. However, the number of employees in jobs that are not funded by public activation programmes in Q1 2014 was below the level in Q4 2010.

There continues to be a problem with the sectoral data in the latest QNHS for Q1 2014, which was published on Monday.

There was a rise in employment in 'Agriculture, forestry and fishing' by 14,400 in the 12 months to end March 2014 while the chart below shows that the total has risen from 85,500 in Q4 2010 to 110,500 in Q1 2014.

Farming has done relatively well during the recession with dairy and beef prices strong and the numbers working in the sector are back to close to 2007 levels - - in the real world numbers never fell to 80,000 or 85,500 and what appears to have happened was that there was undercounting earlier in the recession.

So our own estimate last March of about 30,000 jobs added in 2013 appears to continue to hold when the net gain in jobs of 42,700 in April 2013- March 2014 is reduced by the 14,400 in respect of Agriculture etc.

We assume that the overall total of 1.888m in jobs is correct -- what we are highlighting is that the rate of net job creation since the start of 2013 is not as high as ministers and some commentators are trumpeting and using as a basis for forecasting.

SEE: Irish Jobs Data 2013/ 2014: Finfacts' doubts were proven right; Bruton was wrong -- includes access to CSO data

Analysing the gain of 31,000 in total employment in the period Q4 2010 and Q1 2014, we can see from the chart above that:

  • Self-employed (no paid employees) has risen from 206,000 to 231,00 - a rise of 25,000
  • Self-employed (with paid employees) fell from 92,000 to 87,000 - a fall of 5,000
  • Number of employees rose from 1.549m to 1.555m - a rise of 7000
  • Assisting relative added 4,000

However, included in the total number of employees are unemployed people in publicly funded activation programmes.

The totals in the programmes in the respective quarters was 72,000 and 85,000 including 30,000 and 29,000 who were in 'Back to Education' courses.

So we are assuming the numbers that were counted as employed were 42,000 and 56,000 - a rise of 14,000, which puts the total number of employees in regular employment in March 2014 at 7,000 below the bailout quarter.

Part time employment rose from 434,000 to 451,000 in the period - an increase of 17,000.

Part time employment as a ratio of total employment has risen from 18% in Q1 2008 to 24% in Q1 2014.

So self-employed (no paid employees) was the biggest riser at 25,000 to return to boomtime levels - - in the real world, this reflects the difficulty of getting regular employment  and a QNHS on pensions for Q4 2009, showed that it was not a sector in clover. 

The rate of pension coverage among self-employed workers fell from 47% in Q1 2008 to 36% in Q4 2009 while there was no statistically significant change in the rate of pension coverage among employees (54%).

The conclusion must be that many of the additional jobs being created in the Irish economy are in areas of low pay or non-regular pay and the rate of job creation is at a slower pace than conventional wisdom would like to believe.

Employment in foreign-owned exporting firms in 2013 was lower than it was 13 years before in 2000 - see chart here.

Persons aged 15 years and over in Employment (Thousand) by Region, Sex, NACE Rev 2 Economic Sector and Quarter
  2007Q4 2010Q4 2011Q4 2012Q4 2013Q4 2014Q1
All NACE economic sectors 2,156.0 1,857.3 1,847.7 1,848.9 1,909.8 1,888.2
Agriculture, forestry and fishing (A) 114.3 85.4 80.3 90.0 116.8 110.5
Construction (F) 266.2 111.0 107.8 103.2 103.6 102.3
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (G) 316.8 274.9 270.5 273.4 270.4 268.2
Transportation and storage (H) 98.0 96.8 92.6 89.0 89.6 89.5
Accommodation and food service activities (I) 132.2 119.6 119.9 118.3 135.7 133.8
Information and communication (J) 70.7 71.1 77.7 83.2 82.5 80.7
Professional, scientific and technical activities (M) 114.6 99.3 96.2 102.2 115.2 115.7
Administrative and support service activities (N) 81.5 60.9 65.3 63.2 64.5 62.5
Public administration and defence, compulsory social security (O) 104.5 102.9 102.3 96.0 95.0 96.4
Education (P) 141.5 152.2 144.5 145.3 146.9 150.3
Human health and social work activities (Q) 222.1 238.8 242.8 245.7 249.6 244.3
Industry (B to E) 285.4 244.3 244.5 237.2 243.6 237.0
Industry and Construction (B to F) 551.6 355.3 352.4 340.4 347.2 339.3
Services (G to U) 1,482.9 1,409.9 1,412.3 1,415.3 1,444.6 1,437.7
Financial, insurance and real estate activities (K,L) 105.4 98.3 104.1 102.8 97.1 97.8
Other NACE activities (R to U) 95.5 95.1 96.3 96.2 98.0 98.6
Not stated 7.2 6.7 2.7 3.2 .. ..

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