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Irish employment grew by 10,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 - first increase since Q4 2007

Source: FinFacts.ie Published Mar 7 2012

The Central Statistics Office reported today that on a seasonally adjusted basis, Irish employment grew by 10,000 (+0.6%) in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with a seasonally adjusted fall of 14,400 (-0.8%) in the previous quarter. It was the first increase since Q4 2007.

There was an annual decrease in employment of 0.8% or 15,400 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2011, bringing total employment to 1,807,800. This compares with an annual decrease in employment of 2.5% in the previous quarter and a decrease of 3.4% in the year to Q4 2010. This annual decrease of 0.8% is the lowest since the second quarter of 2008 when the number of persons in employment decreased on an annual basis by 0.1%.

Quarterly Household Survey Q 4 2011 

The number of employees in the public sector declined by 9,800 (-2.4%) in the year to Q4 2011 bringing the total number of employees in the public sector to 392,300. The total reduction in employment in the public sector over the three years from Q4 2008 to Q4 2011 was 35,000 (-8.2%). The number of employees in the private sector increased by 0.8% over the year to Q4 2011, compared with a decrease of 3.0% in the year to Q4 2010. The total reduction in the number of employees in the private sector over the three years from Q4 2008 to Q4 2011 was 154,900 (-12.0%).
Number of Persons in Employment

There was an annual decrease in employment of 0.8% or 15,400 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2011, bringing total employment to 1,807,800.
The average employment level in 2011 was 38,100 or 2.1% lower than the level recorded in 2010. This follows a decrease of 80,700 or 4.2% between 2009 and 2010.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment grew by 10,000 (+0.6%) in the quarter compared with a seasonally adjusted fall of 14,400 (-0.8%) in the previous quarter. This growth in the seasonally adjusted number of persons in employment is the first such increase since the fourth quarter of 2007.

Number of Persons Unemployed

Unemployment increased by 3,000 (+1.0%) in the year to Q4 2011. This brings the total number of persons unemployed to 302,000.
The average number of persons unemployed in 2011 was 304,200, an increase of 12,500 (+4.3%) over the average number of persons unemployed in 2010 which was 291,700.
The long-term unemployment rate increased from 7.3% to 8.6% over the year to Q4 2011. Long-term unemployment accounted for 60.3% of total unemployment in Q4 2011 compared with 51.5% a year earlier.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged over the quarter at 14.6%.

Labour Force

The total number of persons in the labour force in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 2,109,800, representing a decrease of 12,400 (-0.6%) over the year.

Dermot O'Leary, chief economist, at Goodbody comments:

Confirmation of the first increase in employment in four years is a welcome positive surprise for the Irish economy.

Employment up for first time in four years... - According to the latest Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS), employment increased by 0.6% qoq on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the final three months of last year. This is the first sequential increase in employment in exactly four years. The official measure of unemployment remained steady at 14.6% in Q4 and is still at its cyclical high, highlighting the scale of the challenge ahead.

...with half of sectors examined seeing a net increase in jobs in Q4 - Exactly half of the sectors analysed by the CSO witnessed an increase in employment levels in the final quarter of the year on a sequential basis, with the other half seeing declines.

ICT sector seeing the largest growth... - Six sectors saw an annual increase in employment, with ICT (+5,800, 8.4% yoy), Financial, insurance and real estate (+4,600, 4.7% yoy) and Admin and support services (+4,000, 6.8% yoy) seeing the most impressive gains. It is very encouraging that the announcements made in relation to Foreign Direct Investment in the ICT sector is translating into net growth in jobs.

...while public sector will continue to act as a drag - The largest drag on the labour market over the year to Q4 2011 is in education (-9,100, -6.0% yoy), which is predominately a function of public sector retrenchment. This drag from the public sector will continue into the first quarter data given the voluntary retirement scheme just completed at the end of February and plans announced to reduce the size of the public sector further.

Competing forces at work in 2012 - We had been expecting a further decline in employment in Q4 2011, so the news of an increase represents a positive surprise. There will be competing forces on employment as 2012 progresses. On the negative side, announcements on job reductions in the banking sector are expected imminently, while public sector employment will continue to fall. This will be offset somewhat by the positive announcements on FDI in Ireland. These data show that Ireland is already reaping tangible benefits from these announcements.


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