New figures from the Central Statistics Office today show that the estimated labour market participation rate in the third quarter of 2023 reached 65.8% – the highest rate recorded since the third quarter of 2008 and up from 64.8% the same time last year.
Today’s CSO Labour Force Survey figures show that the employment rate for people aged between 15 and 64 years during the months of July, August, and September 2023 was 74.1%.
The CSO said the number of people aged between 15 and 89 in employment increased by 101,600 or 4% to a total of 2,655,900 in the year to the third quarter.
About 21.6% of those in employment worked part-time, and 22.8 % of those in part-time employment were classified as underemployed and said they would like to work more hours for more pay.
The estimated Labour Force – which inclues everyone aged between 15 and 89 who were either employed or unemployed – stood at 2,784,400 in the period under review, an increase of 4.2% (111,000) from the third quarter of 2022.
Meanwhile, the number of people between the ages of 15 and 74 years who were unemployed stood at 128,600, with an associated unemployment rate of 4.6%, the CSO said.
It added that the youth unemployment rate – which includes 15 to 24 year-olds – stood at 12.2% in the third quarter of this year, up from the rate of 12% the same time last year.
The CSO noted that there were 31,000 people in long-term unemployment – without a job for 12 months or longer – in the third quarter, a fall of 800 people on the same time last year.
The corresponding rate of long-term unemployment was unchanged at 1.1% over the same time.
Today’s figures also reveal that the estimated total number of hours worked per week in the third quarter of 2023 increased by 1.7 million hours (2.1%) to 82 million hours.
The CSO said the impact on hours worked varied across the different economic sectors.
The 4.7 million hours worked per week in the Accommodation & Food Service Activities sector was down from 4.8 million last year, but remains 700,000 hours below the pre-pandemic – which covered the third quarter of 2019 – figure of 5.4 million hours worked per week.
The Labour Force Survey is a continuous household survey carried out by the Central Statistics Office and is the official source for employment and unemployment estimates in Ireland.
“Despite some recent turbulence in the labour market, we have once again reached a historic high for the greatest number of people employed in our country, with the monthly unemployment rate standing at 4.8% in October,” said the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney.
“Female participation rates in the labour market in particular are now at an all-time high, with more women availing of opportunities for employment.”
“It is also encouraging to see buoyant employment growth across the regions, which is a testament to this Government’s commitment to achieving more balanced regional enterprise development.”
However, the Minister for Finance cautioned that while the unemployment rate remains low by historical standards, the small increase in the unemployment rate in the third quarter is in keeping with a softening in general economic conditions, both domestic and international.
“Indeed with labour supply remaining robust, the labour market now appears to be returning to a more balanced position, a welcome development which eases some of the concerns relating to over-heating pressures,” Michael McGrath said.
EY Ireland’s chief economist Loretta O’Sullivan said today’s CSO figures confirm the strength of Ireland’s labour market, with further job gains taking the number of people employed to a new high.
The economist said that while the unemployment rate ticked up a notch in the third quarter and is estimated at 4.8% in October, it remains below the 5% rule of thumb economists use to signify “full employment”.
“So the labour market remains warm and given this, it is encouraging to see the participation rate continuing to rise,” she added.