Employment rate at highest level since records began in 1998
The employment rate rose to over 74% in the second quarter of 2023, the highest rate since the current series of records began in 1998.
The latest Labour Force Survey from the Central Statistics Office shows that the number of people in employment increased by 88,400 or 3.5% to 2,643,000 in the second quarter of this year.
The employment rate for females is at 70.5%, its highest level since the series began in 1998.
The CSO figures show that the largest year-on-year increase in employment was recorded in the public administration and defence sector.
The largest percentage decrease was in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, which recorded a 6.3% fall.
Despite recent high-profile lay offs in the tech industry, the numbers employed in the information and communications sector increased on an annual basis by 8,500 to 173,400.
There was also an increase in the numbers working in construction, rising by 2,900 to 170,200.
The number of people who were unemployed in the second quarter of the year stood at 121,200, with an associated unemployment rate of 4.4%.
The youth unemployment rate, for those aged 15-24 years, rose to 12.2% in the second quarter of the year compared to a figure of 11.4% the previous year.
The CSO said there were 31,900 people in long-term unemployment, an increase of 100 people compared the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the estimated total number of hours worked per week in the three months from April to June increased by 1.1 million hours, or 1.3%, on the 84.1 million hours worked the same time last year, the CSO added.
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney welcomed the CSO employment figures.
“For another successive quarter, we have reached a new record for the highest number of people employed in our country than ever before, with the monthly unemployment rate standing at just 4.3% in July,” Mr Coveney said.
“It is a testament to the hard work and remarkable resilience of Irish enterprise,” he added.
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said the figures suggest that the labour market is now operating at or possibly beyond capacity.
“With labour demand still strong according to job postings, the labour market is likely to remain tight over the near term,” Mr McGrath said.
“This presents a growing risk of accelerating wage pressures. Government policy will therefore focus on alleviating supply-side bottlenecks while avoiding contributing to a wage-price spiral that could damage our competitiveness and impact our economy,” he added.
Speaking later at a press conference to launch his department’s Annual Taxation Report, the Minister said the figures in particular highlighted the ‘underlying resilience’ of the Information Technology sector.
Mr McGrath said the situation in the ICT sector remained ‘fluid’, but the figures pointed to an additional 8,600 jobs in the sector over the past year, which he described as ‘a source of comfort.’