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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Jul 18, 2013 - 10:23 AM

Irish Economy 2013: Only growth in Ireland is in freelance 'jobs'
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jul 17, 2013 - 8:27 AM

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G-7: US, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada  

Irish Economy 2013: In common with many other countries the only jobs growth by status in Ireland in recent times has been in freelance 'jobs.'

"The most recent employment numbers show that 20,000 additional people were at work in quarter one 2013 compared with the same period last year," said Michael Noonan, finance minister, on July 4th last. "Looking deeper into the numbers, the private sector is adding about 2,000 jobs per month."

Richard Bruton, jobs minister, has also bragged about 2,000 jobs being created in the private sector every month.

Fodder for the gullible but "looking deeper into the numbers" absent the prism of ministerial distortion, the Q1 2013 Quarterly National Household Survey [pdf, page 16], shows that the total of 20,500 additional jobs in the 12 months to March 31, 2013, which were part-time as full-time job numbers fell, is comprised of self employed without employees at 15,800 and the 'Assisting relative' category of 3,700. So 19,500 of the 20,500 jobs could be termed freelance and working 1 hour for pay a week is considered employment according to the International Labour Organization standard.

Retired civil servants on nixers are employed!

Finfacts, July 4th report: Irish Economy 2013: 499,300 on Live Register and in activation schemes in June

Buttonwood, the Economist columnist, in a blog post this week quotes research from Dhaval Joshi of BCA Research, that the median hourly earnings for the self-employed in the UK are £5.58, less than half the £11.21 earned by employees..."Between 2008 and 2012, there was a 431,000 increase in the number of people working on their own, and a 66,000 fall in the numbers of those self-employed who had staff working for them. As Mr Joshi remarks: 'Put bluntly, Britain has created an army of underpaid freelancers.'

This shows up in the occupational breakdown of the new freelancers. In the period March 2011 to March 2013, 64% of the new self-employed were managers or professionals; a lot of them work in the information and communication trades, or in admin and support services. There has been a big fall in the proportion of self-employed in the skilled trades - - the plumbers and carpenters who might be deemed to be 'natural' freelancers."

BusinessWeek magazine reported last May that there were 22.5m US businesses that didn’t have any paid employees in 2011, 1.7% more than in the year before, about 75% of total businesses. They reported $990bn in total revenue, up 4.1% from 2010. About 18m non-employer businesses, or about 80% of the total, reported receipts of less than $50,000. "By non-employer businesses, we’re talking about a wide-ranging group, from freelance writers and fashion designers to real estate agents and taxi drivers who work for themselves - - as well as necessity entrepreneurs who were pushed into self-employment by a rough job market in recent years."

Those numbers are from the US Census Bureau, which released its annual report on non-employer businesses in May.

Besides freelancers, there has been a rise in temporary work in recent decades. They are generally young and they were the first to be fired when the Great Recession began in late 2007/early 2008.

Japan and South Korea have the highest rates of temporary staff among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development with over a third of workers on contract, compared with the OECD’s average of 25%.

Having fallen in 2008 and 2009, the share of employees with a contract of limited duration (fixed-term employment) increased to 13.9 % in the EU-27 in 2010. One in four employees had a temporary contract in Poland and Spain in 2010 and the share was close to this level in Portugal. Among the remaining member countries, the share of employees working on a contract of limited duration ranged from 18.3 % in the Netherlands down to just 1.1 % in Romania. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, says that the considerable range in the propensity to use limited duration contracts between member countries may, at least to some degree, reflect national practices, the supply and demand of labour, and the ease with which employers can hire or fire.

The Irish rate of temp workers is 10%. In Germany, the rate is 15%.

EU employment statistics and narrative

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