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Monday 10 December 2018

Large fall in construction work as jobs in real estate, education rise

Stock Image: Bloomberg
Stock Image: Bloomberg

Paul Melia and Dr Mick Kerrigan

The number of people at work in towns and villages has increased by just under 50,000 between 2006 and 2016, with big drops in manufacturing and construction and sharp hikes in real estate and education jobs.

Official data shows that just over two million people were at work in April 2016, an increase of 4pc compared with Census 2006.

Across 14 sectors for which data is available, the numbers at work rose in 10 but fell in four.

The sharpest drop was in the construction sector, with just over 105,000 people employed in building in April 2016 compared with almost 215,000 at the same point in 2006. This is a fall of 51pc and equates to a loss of 109,735 jobs.

It also shows a decline in manufacturing, where numbers dropped by 33,008 or 13.6pc, and there was also a fall in positions in the transport, storage and communications sector, where the numbers dropped by 4,085 or 3.85pc.

Across the mining, quarrying and turf production sector, the numbers employed also fell and were down 30pc or 2,300 jobs.

The analysis is based on occupations in the labour force in settlements with 50 or more dwellings. This allows the impact of job losses or gains to be assessed on the level of small areas of population.

For example, Gort, in Co Galway, saw a drop of 274 workers in construction over the 10-year period, representing a 76.75pc fall, which is the highest rate in the State. In terms of absolute numbers, there were 16,472 fewer people employed in the sector in Dublin, and outside the cities the sharpest fall was in Ennis, where 862 jobs were lost.

They also show how some towns are heavily reliant on just one industry. For example, in seven towns, more than 25pc of the workforce were employed in manufacturing in April 2016 - they include Ballyhaunis, in Co Mayo, where 41.88pc of workers are in the sector, followed by Millstreet, in Co Cork, at 33.92pc.

Some 24pc of workers in Derrinturn, Co Kildare, are in wholesale/retail; almost 28pc in Clifden, Co Galway, are in hotels/restaurants, 20pc in Malahide, Co Dublin, are in real estate, almost 19pc in Moycullen, Co Galway, are in education, while 21pc in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, are in health and social work.

While the numbers at work have increased since Census 2016, the figures highlight how the economy contracted during the prolonged recession with some sectors hit harder than others.

But they also show the growth of others.

By far the biggest increase in absolute numbers was those working in real estate, renting and related activities. Some 11.64pc of all workers in the State are in this sector, a rise of 29.1pc or 52,672.

There was a 35pc increase in the numbers employed in education, which is an increase of 45,486 jobs; some 37,807 additional posts were created in health and social work, and there was a 16.08pc rise in the numbers employed in hotels and restaurants.

Increases of 5.16pc were recorded in the wholesale and retail trade, up 13,288, and in banking and financial services, which rose by 6,400 jobs, or 7.49pc.

Across other sectors, there were also increases. Some 5.36pc of all workers were employed in public administration and defence, which rose by 6,266 jobs or 6.19pc. The highest employment rate in this sector is Templemore, Co Tipperary, at 13.4pc. But this fell by more than 70pc, a drop of 223 jobs over the period, which was the highest drop in percentage terms across the State. In agriculture, forestry and fishing, the number of jobs rose by 3,038, or 3.4pc.

Irish Independent

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