Employment at highest level in 5 years

The unemployment rate dropped to 11.3% at the end of August following seven quarters of consecutive employment growth. 

The total number of people at work is at its highest level since 2009, and the unemployment rate has dropped below the eurozone average for the first time since the economy collapsed, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

There was a total of 1,901,600 people employed at the end of June, which was an increase of 31,600 over the 12-month period. The number of people unemployed fell by 46,200 to 254,500 over the same timeframe.

The unemployment rate had fallen to 11.5% at the end of June and currently stands at 11.3%.

Behind the headline figures there were a number of positive trends. Employment increased in 10 of the 14 sectors across the economy.

The number of employees in the public sector fell by 3,900 over the 12months to the end of June, which brings the total number of employees cut from the public sector payroll to 33,000 over the past three years.

On the other hand, the total level of employment in the private sector continues to grow.

There was an increase of 25,400 private sector workers at the end of June compared with the same period in 2013. The total number of private sector jobs created over the past three years is 47,100.

The total number of long-term unemployed fell by 28,500 to 146,500. Moreover, the youth unemployment rate decreased from 29.6% to 26.9%.

“The key takeaway from the above is that total employment continues to recover — it is now 4% above the trough and backto levels last seen in the second quarter of 2009 — despite headwinds such as continued declines in public sector employment — due to tight public budgets and structural reductions in headcounts in certain areas, such as the banks,” said Investec chief economist, Philip O’Sullivan.

“While the falling unemployment rate is particularly welcome, at 11.5% it remains unacceptably high.

“To this end the Government will presumably be contemplating providing appropriate supports to create the optimal conditions for firms to add to headcounts in October’s budget.”

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