Nationally and regionally; what are the latest QNHS employment figures telling us?

Last week the Central Statistics Office (CSO) (21st February 2017) published results from the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) for Q4 2016. Nationally the data show that employment totalled 2,048,100, up 3.3%, an increase of 65,100 over the last year. There was an increase in employment in the last quarter of 0.8% or 16,700.

There was good news on the unemployment figures also with a yearly decrease in unemployment of 21.4% (40,000), to a national figure of 147,400 or an unemployment rate of 7.1% (seasonally adjusted). The unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since Q2 2008.

While the long-term unemployment rate has gone from 4.7% to 3.6%, the long-term unemployed accounts for 54.0% of total unemployment, only marginally down on the rate of 54.5% a year earlier. This illustrates the particular challenges the long term unemployed have in trying to get back to work.

All employment sectors experienced employment growth over the last year, as the chart below illustrates.

1- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
2- Industry
3- Construction
4- Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
5- Transportation and storage
6- Accommodation and food storage activities
7- Information and communication
8- Financial, insurance and real estate activities
9- Professional, scientific and technical activities
10- Administrative and support service activities
11- Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
12- Education
13- Human health and social work activities
14- Other NACE activities


The Regional Picture

The labour force (the employed and unemployed), has increased in most regions over the last year. Nationally it increased by over 25,000 persons, and all regions recorded an increase except the Midlands (decline) and the Mid-East (no change).

Over the last year, all regions recorded employment growth, albeit to varying degrees. The region with the highest employment growth was Dublin (+19,500), while the Midlands experienced an increase of just 800 jobs over the last year.

Most regions experiences employment growth in the last quarter, with the South East and South West recording employment declines, maybe influenced by seasonal factors.

Over the last year, unemployment has fallen across all regions, though there is a variation in unemployment rate across regions from the lowest of 6.0% in Dublin to 9.4% in the South east.

The Border region has the second highest unemployment rate (8.0%) after the South East and the Border is also the region with the lowest participation rate (56.2%). This statistics are of particular concern in the context of Brexit and the particular challenges the Border region is facing.

Further detail on the composition of employment, unemployment and other key labour market statistics from the QNHS are available here. 

Other aspects of employment and labour market statistics will be available from the Census which is to be published later this year.

Deirdre Frost


About WDC Insights

WDC Insights is the blog of the Western Development Commission Policy Analysis Team. The WDC Policy Analysis team analyses regional and rural issues, suggests solutions to regional difficulties and provides a regional perspective on national policy objectives. Policy Analysis Team Members are: Deirdre Frost, Helen McHenry and Pauline White. We will all be posting here. You can contact us here, or use our firstnamelastname at Follow us on Twitter @WDCInsights
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