Unemployment rate drops to pre-crisis low

The Irish workforce was looking healthier as 2016 drew to a close...

New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that Ireland's unemployment rate has now dropped to 6.7%, the lowest percentage since July 2008.

It was an altogether rosier Christmas break for households than in 2015, with the unemployment rate in Q4 2016 down 21.4% on the same period the year previous.

There were 147,400 people unemployed as 2016 drew to a close, compared to roughly 187,000 people out of work in 2015.

Employment in Q4 2016 totalled 2,048,100, up 3.3% or 65,100 from the same quarter in 2015.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, employment increased by 0.8% or 16,700 from the previous quarter in 2016.

When seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate fell from 7.8% to 7.1% over the quarter while the
seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 154,900, the lowest since Q2 2008 when the
comparable figure was 127,200.

Long term unemployment, which refers to those persons unemployed for one year or more, accounted
for 54.0% of total unemployment in Q4 2016 compared to 54.5% a year earlier.

Finally, the total number of persons in the labour force is now 2,195,600, up 1.2% or 25,100 from Q4
2015. The number of persons not in the labour force is 1,459,300 which was up 0.8% or 11,200 from a
year earlier.

Source: CSO

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said of the latest findings:

"I warmly welcome the very strong employment growth that was recorded in the final quarter of last year. Overall employment increases of 65,000 (3.3%) are a clear sign that our economy is performing very well and generating jobs-rich growth.

"I particularly welcome the increase in full-time employment with 72,000 full-time jobs created year-on-year to the last quarter of 2016. It is very encouraging that all sectors of the economy are generating employment. I also note that the level of employment is now over 200,000 higher than when the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in early 2012.

“In parallel with the employment growth, unemployment continues to fall and we now have net inward migration.

“Our task in the months and years ahead is to build upon the recovery, to generate more jobs and reduce unemployment further. That is what the Government is doing.”