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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: May 22, 2015 - 8:52 AM

Irish Economy: 41,300 jobs added in 12 months to Q1 2015 - Construction up 19,600
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
May 21, 2015 - 11:37 AM

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Irish Economy: There was an annual rise in employment of 2.2% or 41,300 in the year to the first quarter of 2015, bringing total employment to 1,929,500. This compares with an annual increase in employment of 1.5% in the previous quarter and an increase of 2.3% in the year to Q1 2014.

Construction added 19,600 while there was an addition of 8,000 in industry while there were no jobs added in the Information and communication (ICT) sector.

The CSO says in its Quarterly National Household Survey that the total number of persons in the labour force in the first quarter of 2015 was 2,142,400,representing a decrease of 4,000 (-0.2%) over the year. The number of persons not in the labour force in Q1 2015 was 1,464,900, an increase of 14,700 (+1.0%) over the year.

Summary points for Q1 2015

  • The increase in total employment of 41,300 in the year to Q1 2015 was represented by an increase in full-time employment of 52,100 (+3.6%) and a decrease in part-time employment of 10,800 (-2.4%).
  • On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment increased by 12,500 (+0.6%) over the previous quarter. This follows on from a seasonally adjusted increase in employment of 13,000 (+0.7%) in Q4 2014, an increase of 12,000 (+0.6%) in Q3 2014, an increase of 4,100 (+0.2%) in Q2 2014 and a decrease of 1,500 (-0.1%) in Q1 2014.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 10.4% to 9.9% over the quarter, while the number of persons unemployed fell by 10,000.
  • Unemployment decreased by 45,300 (-17.5%) in the year to Q1 2015 bringing the total number of persons unemployed to 212,800. This is the eleventh quarter in succession where unemployment has declined on an annual basis.
  • The long-term unemployment rate decreased from 7.3% to 5.9% over the year to Q1 2015.  Long-term unemployment accounted for 59.8% of total unemployment in Q1 2015 compared with 60.5% a year earlier and 61.8% in the first quarter of 2013.
  • The total number of persons in the labour force in the first quarter of 2015 was 2,142,400, representing a decrease of 4,000 (-0.2%) over the year.  This compares with an annual labour force increase of 8,800 (+0.4%) in Q1 2014.  The number of persons not in the labour force in Q1 2015 was 1,464,900, an increase of 14,700 (+1.0%) over the year.

The broad jobless rate remains about 20% of the workforce — analysis on this issue on Friday.

Ireland: Coalition drops 2018 full-employment target

Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy, commented: "Today’s QNHS for Q1 2015 shows the Irish labour market continuing to perform strongly. Employment grew by 0.6% on the quarter, up 2.2% year-on-year. The unemployment rate has been revised down to 9.9% in Q1 2015 and to 9.8% in April 2015. Total employment has increased by 41,000 on the year to 1.93m – its highest level since Q2 2009.

The Irish unemployment rate has fallen by 2.2 percentage points in the year to Q1 2015, down from 12.1% in Q1 2014. This is the sharpest annual decline in the unemployment rate across 33 developed economies for which we have data, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

At a sectoral level, the construction sector is beginning to make a stronger contribution to Ireland’s labour market performance. Construction sector jobs rose by 19,600 on the year to 121,800, up by 19% but still down 55.5% from peak 2007 levels. Services sector employment grew by 0.9% and industry by 4.0%.

The rotation into full-time work within the Irish economy is also continuing. Full-time employment rose by 52,100 on the year, or by 3.6%, but with part-time work contracting by 10,800, or by 2.4%. It is also encouraging to see the long-term unemployment rate continuing to fall to 5.9% in Q1 2015, down from 7.3% in Q1 2014, especially given fears that Ireland could suffer a higher structural unemployment rate due to workers losing skills and struggling to find new jobs.

Overall, today’s out-turn is slightly stronger than implied by our forecasts for 2.1% calendar year employment growth in 2015 and the unemployment rate to average 9.6% through the year. So we will have revise up slightly our forecasts for employment growth and down for the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate now looks set to fall below 9% by the end of 2015."

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