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News : Irish Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM

Quarterly National Household Survey Q4 2007: Irish employment grew by 66,800 in 2007; Number of self employed increased by 39,100; Non-Irish accounted for 49,000 new jobs
By Finfacts Team
Mar 5, 2008 - 11:33:00 AM

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Source: CSO

The CSO today published its Quarterly National Household Survey for the Fourth Quarter of 2007.

Employment grows by 3.2%

There were 2,138,900 persons in employment in the fourth quarter of 2007, representing an increase of 66,800 or 3.2% in the year. This compares to an annual growth rate of 3.3% in the previous quarter and to a rate of 4.4% in the fourth quarter of 2006. The increase of 45,800 (+5.2%) in female employment represented almost 69% of the total increase in employment, with male employment increasing by 21,000 (+1.8%).

Employment in the construction sector declines over the year

Employment fell by 5,600 (-2.0%) in the Construction sector over the year compared with an annual increase of 30,300 (+11.9%) in the same quarter of 2006. All of the decrease in construction employment was attributable to males (-5,900). The number of employees in the Construction sector decreased over the year by 15,200 and this was partially offset by an increase in self employed persons (+9,500). The only other sector to show a decline was Other production industries where employment decreased by 4,200 in the year.

Main Results Q4 2007

Change in Quarter
Change in Year







Increase in self employed accounts for almost 60% of the annual increase in employment

The number of self employed persons increased by 39,100 to 361,600 in the year representing almost 60% of the annual increase in employment. Self employed males dominated the increase rising by 28,300 in the year while self employed females increased by 10,900. Sectors, which had the largest increases in the numbers of self employed, were Construction, Agriculture and Financial and other business services. There were 1,761,000 employees in the fourth quarter of 2007, an annual increase of 23,300. This comprised an increase of 33,000 females and a decrease of 9,800 males.

Over 70% of employment growth attributable to foreign nationals

Broad indicative estimates of the labour force status of Non-Irish nationals are presented in the Annex. There were an estimated 468,100 foreign nationals aged 15 and over in the state in the fourth quarter of 2007. Of these 334,700 were in employment while a further 20,000 were unemployed according to ILO (International Labour Organisation) criteria, giving a total Non-Irish national labour force of 354,700, up 49,700 in the year.

This compares to an annual Non-Irish national labour force increase of 69,400 for Q4 2006. Nationals of the new EU Accession states were the fastest growing category accounting for 58.7% (+45,500) of overall labour force growth (+77,500).

In the fourth quarter of 2007 Non-Irish nationals accounted for almost 16% of all persons aged 15 years and over in employment. Over 37% of workers in the Hotels and restaurants, 17.7% in the Other production industries, 17.3% of the Wholesale and retail trade and 17.2% in the Construction sectors were foreign nationals.

Rossa White, economist at Davy Stockbrokers commented:

Labour market remained tight up to end-November

  • Employment rose by almost 18,000 in September-November compared with June-August.

  • That was driven by rapid net job gains in private services and agriculture. Private services employment jumped 15,000 or 1.5% (6.3% annualised) in Q4 compared with Q3. Agriculture leaped 5,000 or 4.4% (18.7% annualised) quarter-on-quarter (qoq).

  • Construction employment dipped only slightly by 1,500 or 0.5% in the quarter. That is no surprise: builders only began to lay off workers in significant numbers in December and January, according to the spike in the Live Register.

  • Note that employment in the rest of the economy outside of construction and the public sector jumped by 4.4% or the most in eight years in the year to Q4.

  • Unemployment rate ticked up to 4.6% from 4.5% as the labour force continues to move closely with employment

  • The unemployment rate nudged up to 4.6%. Trends in the Live Register since this QNHS suggest that it will be closer to 5% by the end of Q1 2008.

  • We do not expect a move higher than 5.5% by year-end. Private services employment growth is resilient, although the pace of growth will moderate as the year progresses. Crucially, however, the labour force may continue to track changes in employment closely as net inward migration slows.

  • We have already seen evidence of this. The net increase in non-Irish nationals in the labour force dipped below 50,000 in Q4 2007 - for the first time since 10 new countries joined the EU in Q2 2004.
    Revised estimates show proportion of non-Irish nationals in employment is higher

  • The QNHS was revised to tally with the population estimates in census 2006. The latest data have significantly pushed up the absolute level of employment of non-Irish nationals in the economy.

  • It is estimated that by Q4 2007, there were 334,700 non-Irish nationals in employment. Non-Irish nationals now account for 16% of total employment in the economy.

  • The biggest proportion of non-Irish national employment is in the following sectors:
          - Hotels and restaurants: 37%
          - Industry: 18%
          - Construction: 17%
         - Wholesale and retail: 17%
         - Financial and business services: 15%

  • Non-Irish nationals accounted for 73% of employment growth in the year to Q4 2007.

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