Irish Jobs Data 2013/ 2014: Finfacts' doubts
about the data that was published in March in respect of 2013 were proven right
the CSO reported today that total employment at end of March 2014 was 22,000
below the published count at end December 2013. At a press conference in April
which I had attended, Richard Bruton, enterprise and jobs minister, rejected any
doubts about the data.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment rose by 1,700 (+0.1%) in the quarter. This follows on from a seasonally adjusted increase in employment of 10,600 (+0.6%) in Q4 2013.
The CSO reported last March
that total employment had grown by 61,000 in 2013 to 1,910,000 while today, the
agency reported that employment was at 1,888,000.
Most economists went with the flow and ministers
were distributed a 'talking point' that jobs were being created at a rate of 5,000
a month -- the CSO had issued a caveat about its 27,000 annual jump in
employment in 'Agriculture, fisheries and forestry' but that was ignored.
Besides, there was no net jobs creation in January-December 2012
and in the real world, suddenly jobs wouldn't have arrived like manna from the
heavens in 2013.
When I was back in Dublin I put it directly to
Richard Bruton, enterprise and jobs minister,
that the jobs data was unreliable
but he rejected it out of hand - - it was too good a propaganda point to
express doubts about.
In April, Prof John
FitzGerald of the ESRI, had said that sectoral unemployment data was
unreliable for the first time in 60 years.
Finfacts, March 2014:
Irish Economy 2014: Did Ireland add 61,000 jobs in 2013?
- Doubts remain about the data as "Agriculture
etc." in the eral world did not add 14,000 jobs in the 12 months April- 2013-March 2014;
- Some 85,000 unemployed or 4% of the
workforce who are in public activation programs, are counted as employed or
- Self-employment (without employees) jumped
by 16,000 in 12 months and the total is back to boom times --
there is no entrepreneurship miracle and many of these people likely are
seeking proper paid work.
Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy,
commented: "At face value, today’s Irish labour market data are a little
disappointing. Surveys of companies’ employment intentions and buoyant tax
revenue growth pointed to a robust gain in employment in early 2014. But
employment grew by just 0.1% in Q1 on the quarter, up 2.3% on the year. This
marks a slowdown from the 3.3% annual rate of job creation recorded in Q4 2013.
In addition, the unemployment rate has been revised up to 12.0% in Q1, albeit it
is still estimated to have fallen to 11.8% in April, exactly in line with the
However, aggregate employment growth figures have been pushed down by weak
part-time jobs data. The marginal 0.1% rise in Irish employment in Q1 was split
between part-time employment down 1.0% on the quarter, and full-time work up by
0.4%. Full-time jobs are up 3.3% on the year but part-time jobs are down 0.8%.
This weakness in part-time work could relate to the retail sector, where
employment fell by 5,900 on the year. However, the broader picture is that
retail jobs appear to have levelled off around 270,000 and should benefit from
the brighter outlook for consumer spending. As in the UK, part-time work in
Ireland grew through the recession as full-time work fell away. It now appears
that part-time work is being replaced by full-time employment. So, even after
accounting for the fall in part-time work, the pace of full-time employment
creation clearly moderated slightly in Q1.
At a sectoral level, Irish job creation remains reasonably broadly based.
Manufacturing had contributed to jobs growth in 2013, but was down 0.4% in the
year to Q1. In contrast, construction sector employment is up 6.2% and services
by 1.7%. Within the services sector, employment rose in hotels and restaurants
(13,500), information technology (+3,300), professional and scientific
activities (11,800) and administration and support services (+3,000). Retail
(-5,900), finance (-1,900) and health and social work activities (-3,200)
detracted from employment growth, with the latter sectors hurt by public sector
job cuts. Public sector jobs fell by 2,500 in the year to Q1 to 375,500, down
0.7%. In contrast, private sector jobs are up 2.6% on the year."
Brian Mandt, Ibec
senior economist, said: "Companies remain
confident in Ireland's economic development and continue to hire. An improving
labour market should translate into greater consumer spending and further
positive knock on effects across the economy.
"Today's figures are consistent with our forecast of a nearly 2% increase in
private consumption this year. The improvement was broad based. Nine out of
fourteen sectors contributed positively to the increase in overall employment.
Strong increases were noted in professional, scientific and technical
activities, as well as the accommodation and food service activities, but the
financial sector continues to decline.
"Employment rose to 1,903m people in seasonally adjusted terms, the highest
level since Q1 2010. It is particularly positive to see that all the new jobs
have been full-time positions, which increased from 1.447m to 1.454m.
Unemployment, on the other hand, continued its downward trend. Seasonally
adjusted the unemployment rate is now at 12 %, the lowest level since Q1 2009.
Brian Mandt said employment so far have been the best indicator for the
condition of Ireland's economy and should continue its positive performance in
the coming quarters.