Jobless rate remains unchanged at 5.3% in December

The rate of unemployment remained at a 10-year low of 5.3% in December, new figures from the Central Statistics office show today.

The CSO said the seasonally adjusted number of people who were unemployed in December stood at 127,100, a decrease of 20,000 when compared to December 2017.

The country’s unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4% a year ago and a financial crisis-peak of 16% in 2012.

Today’s CSO figures also show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men in December was 5.3%, down from 6.5% the same month the previous year.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for women was 5.3%, down from 5.8% in December 2017.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rate eased to 12.2% in December from 12.3% in November.

Commenting on the CSO figures, Pawel Adrjan, economist at global job site Indeed, said that as the country edges closer to full employment it is worth considering the extent to which Ireland is maximising the use of the potential domestic workforce given the low participation rates for women, lone parents and those without third level education.

He noted that Ireland’s labour force participation rate for 25-64 year olds is below the EU average, and the gap has been widening in recent years for people without tertiary education.

“Policy efforts that focus on providing improved training and skills to those without tertiary education, will help people enter or re-enter the labour force, particularly those who are long-term unemployed or young people without jobs,” the economist said.

He noted that despite the declining unemployment rate long term and youth unemployment remain unacceptably high at 2.1% and 12.2% respectively.

These are both still above their respective pre-recession averages of 1.5% and 8.8% over the 2003-2007 period.

He also said it would also make sense to explore what can be done to help stay at home parents who would like to work to get jobs, adding that part-time roles and more flexible working arrangements could play an important role here.

“Searches for keywords related to flexible work, including remote and home working, have risen by 170% over the last two years on Indeed’s Irish site, suggesting rising interest from jobseekers in such arrangements,” the economist added.

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