Labour market slowing but still strong at start of '08 - IBEC

The latest detailed labour market data from the CSO show that the employment situation was still quite positive at the beginning of this year, but IBEC cautioned that a lot has changed since the survey was undertaken and the labour market is now much weaker.

Commenting on the figures contained in the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS), Fergal O’Brien, IBEC Senior Economist, said: "It must be remembered that this is now quite a historical look at the Irish labour market and things have definitely deteriorated further since the mid-point of the sampling period for this survey, which was last January.

"In the months since then we have seen the Live Register weakening at a record pace and there is no doubt that the QNHS will reflect this when we get the data for the second quarter of the year. Notwithstanding this, apart from the obvious weakness in housing, a number of other sectors of the economy continued to add employment."

"Unfortunately we don’t expect to see much further employment created during the remainder of 2008 and it is inevitable that the continued weakness in construction and slower consumer spending will be reflected in labour market trends in the coming months.

"The number of non-nationals coming to Ireland has also slowed substantially in recent months and this will help offset to some degree the rise in unemployment."

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