A fall of 10,900 jobs in agriculture, forestry and fisheries may be due to how the Central Statistics Office compiles the information, says Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.
With a 9.3% job slump over 12 months, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector stood out in recent CSO figures, which showed an overall annual increase in national employment of 1.5%, or 29,100.
The figures showed employment falling in only three of the 14 economic sectors which are measured.
Only 0.3% of jobs were lost in the “Public administration and defence; compulsory social security” sector, and only 0.28% in “Human health and social work activities”. But jobs in agriculture, forestry and fisheries fell from 116,800 to 105,900.
In the Dail, Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív asked Minister Coveney to explain the rapid decline, and what steps he has taken to halt it.
The Minister said the figures (for the fourth quarter of 2014) should be viewed in the context of changes in the sample of households used by the CSO to measure unemployment.
Also, compared to a full census, the sample survey is reliable only to within 4,800 of the 116,800 jobs in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector, said Minister Coveney.
“It should also be noted that the estimate for Q4, 2013 was particularly high, again likely due to sampling issues, which further skews this particular year-on-year comparison.”
The CSO figures showed the best performing job sectors were “Construction” (up 12.6% or 13,100), and the “Financial, insurance and real estate activities” (up 4.9% or 4,800).
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 11.1% to 10.4%
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