There was an annual increase in employment of 3.1% or 66,800 in the fourth quarter of 2017, bringing total employment to 2,231,000. This compared with an annual rise in employment of 2.2% (48,100) in the third quarter of last year and a year-on-year increase of 79,200 (3.8%) in the fourth quarter of 2016.
This is according to the latest labour market figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) this morning. The annual increase in the numbers at work in the fourth quarter was driven by a jump of 90,100 in full-time employment and a decrease of 23,300 in those employed on a part-time basis. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, employment rose by 29,000 (+1.3%) in the quarter.
Unemployment in the fourth quarter decreased by 23,400 (-14.0%) in the year, pushing the total number out of work down to 144,100. This was the twenty-second quarter running where those without a job declined on an annual basis.
Merrion Stockbrokers say that 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 few years, reflecting the strengthening of the economic recovery.
The most recent migration estimates showed net inward migration of 19,800 in the year to April 2017 as against net inward migration of 16,200 in 2016, and the highest net inflow since 2008.
Employment rose in twelve of the fourteen economic sectors on an annual basis in the final quarter of 2017. The greatest rates of increase were posted in the Administrative and support services activities (+11.6% or 9,800) and Construction (+9.9% or 12,000) sectors. On the negative side, some sectors recorded job losses with the biggest annual fall coming in Professional, scientific and technical activities (-4.1% or -5,700).
According to Merrion Stockbrokers, "There was an average net jobs rise of 61,300 in 2017. As regards 2018, another positive year for the labour market is envisaged, though the net jobs gain is forecast to be lower than last year, at around 50,000."