Numbers working in real estate sector down over 10pc in a year
The number of people employed in real estate activities declined by 11.1pc year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, CSO figures indicate.
The news emerges with the country in the grip of a housing crisis.
Detailed Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) figures released to the Sunday Independent indicate the drop, from 12,800 to 11,300. For the purposes of the QNHS, the term real estate activities encompasses the buying and selling of real estate, the renting or operating of real estate, those working in real estate agencies, and the management of real estate on a fee or contract basis.
However, there was a year-on-year increase in the number of people employed in the construction of buildings - up 14.9pc to 63,400.
The CSO figures are based on a survey of 26,000 households, not the population as a whole, meaning the State statisticians emphasise that there is a margin of error.
There was also a year-on-year rise in the numbers employed as domestic servants like butlers and cleaners, up 20.3pc from the first quarter of 2015 at 8,300, but down from almost 10,000 in the fourth quarter of last year.
The news accompanies the rise of online on-demand cleaning firms like Jules Coleman's Hassle. The growth potential of the domestic cleaning sector globally saw Hassle, which operates in Dublin, sold by Coleman and the other co-founders to its German rival Helpling, for a reported €32m. Irishman Oisin Hanrahan has a similar business in the US called Handy.
Other large rises were seen in advertising and market research (up 27.3pc) and manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (up 11.1pc).
The survey puts the total number of people employed at the end of the first quarter 1.98 million - up more than 2pc year-on-year. Separate CSO figures released during the week put the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 7.8pc, down from 8.1pc in March.
"Though emigration has been a factor to some degree in keeping unemployment down, the labour market has improved dramatically over the past few years, reflecting the strengthening of the economic recovery," Merrion Capital economist Alan McQuaid said.
"Labour supply has begun to rise in response to the improved economic situation, and this is likely to slow down the decline in the jobless rate over the coming months.
"Still, we expect the downward trend in unemployment to continue for a while yet," he added, saying it was "hard to disagree" with a Government projection that Ireland will pass the two million in employment mark this year.
Sunday Indo Business