NCB Economics: Latest Irish Employment Data (QNHS)

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today released the latest Quarterly National Household Survey, covering the third quarter of 2012. The data provide a high level of detail into trends within the Irish labour market. This quarter’s release has been subject to considerable revisions on the back of the results of the 2011 Census of Population.

Within the release, we see that, on a seasonally adjusted basis, employment fell by 5,800 (-0.3%) in the quarter. This compares with qoq declines of 8k and 9.3k in the preceding two quarters respectively. The decline has chiefly been driven by continued falls in public sector employment (-4.8k qoq in Q3). Of the 14 different components that comprise the labour force, 6 recorded sequential growth in Q3.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, at 14.8%, has improved from the 14.9% seen in Q2 2012 and the 15.0% seen in Q1. This improvement is down to continued falls in the labour force, which has declined by 15.1k (-0.7%) in the year to date. Within the release we see that the number of people aged between 20 and 34 in the labour force has declined by 31k (-4%) over the past year, with emigration the main cause of this.

Overall, there are few surprises within the release. Headline employment and unemployment figures continue to be distorted by a number of factors, such as the different outlook for public sector and private sector employment and emigration. Looking beyond that, we see some further signs of stabilisation across many sectors of the labour market in this latest quarterly release, but a return to meaningful growth in the number of people in work in Ireland is unlikely to materialise until the outlook for the domestic economy improves.

Philip O’Sullivan, Chief Economist.