Category Archives: Irish employment

30/7/18: Broader Unemployment vs Official Unemployment: Ireland

In the first post (see above) looking at the broader measures of unemployment and dependency ratios, recall that CSO publishes several extended series for broader unemployment rates. 

The official unemployment rate at 1Q 2018 stood at 6.4 percent (well within the pre-crisis historical range of the average of 5.31 percent and the 99% confidence interval of (3.70%, 6.92%). In more simple terms, statistically, the current official unemployment rate is indistinguishable from the average rate prevailing in 1Q 1998 - 4Q 2007. Which is the good thing, implying that in official terms, Irelands economy has recovered from the crisis at last. In fact, the recovery in official terms has been attained in 4Q 2017.

However, the CSO also reports the PLS2 measure of broader unemployment. The Above analysis was based on reported PLS1 data, covering unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percentage of the labour force. Adding to the PLS1 those in potential additional labour force (basically able bodied adults who are neither employed nor unemployed, nor discouraged, and are not in studies or formal training), the CSO gets PLS2 measure of broader unemployment. In 1Q 208 this number read 10.2% of the Labour Force, plus Potential Additional Labour Force, which was statistically higher than the pre-Crisis average of 6.1% (falling into the 99% confidence interval range of (4.39%, 7.81%). In other words, the economy has not yet recovered from the Crisis based on PLS2 broader unemployment measure.

Extending PLS2 to cover all unemployed, plus those who want a job and not seeking for reasons other than being in education or training, in 1Q 2018 the broader PLS3 unemployment measure stood at 14.2 percent, unchanged on 4Q 2017. As with PLS2, the 1Q 2018 reading for PLS3 falls well beyond the range of the pre-crisis historical average of 8.36% (with 99% confidence interval of (6.52%, 10.20%).

As noted above, by two broader unemployment measures: PS2 and PLS3, Irish economy has not recovered from the crisis, even if we take a relatively benign recovery measure of the economy reaching the pre-crisis 1Q 1998 - 4Q 2007 average rate of unemployment. 

Worse, taking 4 year moving average and a 4 year rolling standard deviation in PS3 rates, 1Q 2018 PLS3 rate of 14.2% is closer to the upper margin of the 99% confidence interval for 1Q 2018 based on prior 4 years of data (the CI is given by (9.81%, 15.63%) range). Which means that 1Q 2018 data shows no statistically significant break-out from the PLS3 broader unemployment dynamics of the past 4 years. The same holds for the 5 years MA and rolling STDEV. 

So while the official unemployment readings are showing a very robust recovery, broader measures of unemployment continue to trend in line with the economy still carrying the hefty legacy of the recent crises. 

20/6/15: Irish Employment by Sector: Latest Data

Here are the latest stats for Irish employment across sectors, based on the EHECS Earnings Hours and Employment Costs Survey Quarterly reported by CSO:

Overall, there were 1,574,800 people employed across all sectors of economy in 1Q 2015, which represents an increase of 2.67% y/y. In 4Q 2014 y/y rise was 2.33%. Current level of employment is 9.9% below 1Q 2008, but since 1Q 2011 (during the tenure of current Government) the economy added some 59,700 jobs - a rate of jobs creation of 14,925 per annum. The rate of jobs creation did accelerate in the last twelve months: between 1Q 2013 and Q1 2014, the economy added 26,800 jobs and between 1Q 2014 and 1Q 2015 it added 41,000 jobs. Nonetheless, compared to 1Q 2008 there were 192,400 fewer workers in the economy at the end of 1Q 2015.

Here is the summary of changes (%) between 2008 average (do note this), 1Q 2014 and 1Q 2015 by sector:

Our 'smart' and 'knowledge' economy currently operates at employment levels in Information & Communication sector of some 59,800 (quite low, surprisingly, given the hype about the sector growth). And this represents an increase of only 1,800 (+3.1%) y/y, and a drop on 1Q 2008 levels of 5,000 jobs. Another category of 'smart'/'knowledge' workers is Professional, scientific and technical activities. Here things are even worse. Total level of employment in this category at the end of 1Q 2015 stood at 79,000, which represents a drop of 5,100 y/y (-6.1%) and a decline of 2,600 on 1Q 2008.

This dovetails with the evidence on STEM-related employment presented here:

Overall, only two areas of activity have managed to post higher 1Q 2015 employment levels than 1Q 2015: Education (+3,900) as well as Human Health and Social Work (+19,000).