More than 2m people are in employment, the most working in the country since 2008, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.
The CSO’s National Household Survey for the third quarter of 2016 also shows that employment rose 2.9% or 57,500 in the year to September 2016, bringing total employment to 2,040,500.
Unemployment dropped by 25,300 (12.5%) over the same period bringing the total number of persons unemployed to 177,700.
The total number in the labour force in the third quarter of 2016 was 2,218,200 representing an increase of 32,200 (1.5%) over the year, while the number of people not in the labour force in the third quarter of 2016 was 1,430,300, an increase of 3,100 (+0.2%) over the year.
The survey also recorded a decrease in the number of long term unemployed. The rate of those unemployed for over one year decreased from 5% to 4.2% over the year to the third quarter of the year.
Broken down by gender, there was a 27,800 (2.6%) increase in male employment, while female employment rose 29,800 (3.3%) over the year.
Long-term unemployment accounted for 52% of total unemployment in the third quarter of 2016 compared with 54.1% a year earlier and 56.7% at the same stage in 2014.
Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers said that the labour market figures were “very positive and better than we expected”.
“Although emigration has been a factor to some degree in keeping unemployment down since the financial crisis, the labour market has improved dramatically over the past two/ three years, reflecting the strengthening of the economic recovery,” said Mr McQuaid.
“Indeed, the most recent migration estimates showed net inward migration of 3,100 in the year to April 2016 as against net outward migration of 11,600 in 2015, and the first positive figure since 2009.”
Conall MacCoille, analyst with Davy Research, said that the jobs growth is spread across a number of sectors.
“The job gains are broad-based. Industrial employment has grown by 6.1% on the year, construction by 7.2% and the services sector by 2.1%,” said Mr MacCoille. “Within the services sector, employment in hotels and restaurants stood out, up 9.5% on the year.”
Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said that the figures indicate that the level of growth is on track to surpass the 2016 Action Plan for Jobs target of an extra 50,000 jobs being created this year.
“The CSO figures today are very welcome and show that our job growth is recovering,” said Ms Mitchell O’Connor . “I am particularly encouraged to see figures showing the vast majority of new jobs are being created outside of Dublin as one of my key priorities remains keeping a focus on job growth in all regions around Ireland.”
She also said that the figures reflect the 16th consecutive quarter for job growth.
“This must continue, we must rise to the challenge of ensuring that we are protected from international effects,” she said. “Continuing to develop a sustainable economy remains a key priority and I intend continuing to work towards ensuring the right supports are available to all businesses so that we can maintain the momentum we have recently seen in job growth.”
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the Government is targeting another 200,000 additional jobs in the next three years.
“The Programme for a Partnership Government reaffirmed the Action Plan for Jobs as the best method to consult with all stakeholders and progress the best ideas on job creation across government,” said Mr Noonan.
“The Government’s commitment remains to help create 200,000 new jobs by 2020, including 135,000 outside of Dublin. Supporting a balanced recovery across all regions and all sectors will help workers and their families feel the benefits of recovery.”
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