Sunday 20 October 2019

Unemployment rate static last month, but warning that impact of a hard Brexit remains a considerable risk

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Anne-Marie Walsh

THE unemployment rate was static last month and remains at 5.3pc of the total labour force.

There were 126,900 people out of work last month – 600 less than the 127,500 unemployed in August.

But the slight change had no effect on the overall unemployment rate, according to the latest Central Statistics Office figures published today.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 5.5pc for men – unchanged from August.

The rate for women was 4.9pc last month – down from 5.1pc in August.

Youth unemployment stands at 14.8pc of the labour force – unchanged from August.

There has been a drop of 7,500 in the number of people without work since September last year.

Pawel Adrjan, an economist at global job site Indeed, noted that unemployment was flat against the backdrop of risk posed by Brexit and US-China trade wars.

“The labour market in Ireland has significantly outperformed other countries in the European Union over the past 6 years, with employment growth in Ireland of almost 3pc per annum, nearly treble the EU28 average of less than 1pc,” he said.

He said demand for staff is strong across most parts of the economy with the construction sector particularly competitive.

Surveyors, civil engineers and architectural drafters are among the roles in highest demand in the first half of the year, he added.

He said the impact of a hard Brexit remains a considerable downside risk, with rural Ireland considerably more exposed than Dublin, according to a recent analysis by the Central Bank.

“The border counties of Cavan and Monaghan have the biggest proportion of jobs in Brexit-exposed sectors,” he said.

“Counties with a strong reliance on agriculture – including Tipperary, Wexford and Kilkenny – are also heavily exposed, given the shock to food exports to the UK that a no-deal Brexit could mean.

“Whilst the employment outlook remains positive, people in jobs reliant on cross-border trade or the €4.5bn per annum in food and drink exports to the UK are justifiably concerned about the huge uncertainty about what will happen on October 31.”

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