Employment Up By 61,000 In 2013
Employment continued to rise in 2013, according to the CSO, with labour market figures showing an increase of 3.3% (61,000) in employment for Q4 2013. Seasonally adjusted, employment rose by 1.5% for the period.
The Q4 results is slightly up on the previous quarter's growth of 3.2% and represents an increase of 0.1% in the year to the fourth quarter of 2012.
The CSO says that unemployment decreased by 41,400 (-14.1%) in the year in the fourth quarter, pushing the total number out of work down to 253,200. This was the sixth quarter running where unemployment declined on an annual basis. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased from 12.7% to 12.1% over the quarter, while the numbers unemployed fell by 11,100 on an adjusted basis. The unadjusted jobless rate dropped from 13.7% to 11.7% over the year.
Employment rose in ten of the fourteen economic sectors on an annual basis and fell in the other four. The greatest rates of increase were recorded in the agriculture, forestry and fishing (+29.8%, or 26,800), and the accommodation and food service activities (+14.7%, or 17,400) sectors.
The largest rates of decrease were posted in the financial, insurance and real estate activities (-5.6%, or -5,700); wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (-1.1%, or -3,000) sectors.
Commenting on the trends, Merrion Stockbrokers said that the improvements suggested that the economy was performing better than the official GDP figures suggested. Says Merrion's Alan McQuaid: “Although the recovery path for the labour market won't entirely be smooth, we do think that the numbers at work will rise and the level of unemployment will continue to fall over the course of 2014.
“It does now appear as though the jobless rate has peaked, and we are now looking for it to fall back to 11.5% on average this year from 13.1% in 2013, which itself was the lowest level since 2009.”
ISME was also cautious in its response to the CSO figures, welcoming the employment increase but expressing concern at the rate of long-term unemployment, which accounts for 61.4% of those currently on the Live Register.
According to Mark Fielding, ISME's chief executive: “Job creation and job retention must continue to be the main aim of the government, which must address the fundamental issues preventing businesses from increasing employment: the inept social welfare system, the black economy, high business costs, bureaucracy and a lack of credit.”
Fielding added that the plight of smaller businesses could be helped by the government through a focus on cost competitiveness, public sector reform and better social welfare system management. (27/02/14)