Jobless rate dips below 10pc for first time since 2008
The unemployment rate has dropped below 10pc for the first time since the economy collapsed in 2008.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the jobless rate fell to 9.9pc in the final quarter of 2014. Although this is the unadjusted unemployment rate - meaning it isn't tweaked to take account of seasonal factors such as extra Christmas retail jobs - the fact it has dipped below 10pc still marks an important milestone in economic recovery.
The last time unemployment was below 10pc was in the final months of 2008, when it stood at 7.7pc, before surging to 10.3pc in early 2009 and peaking at 15.1pc in 2011.
Welcoming the positive labour force figures, Alan McQuaid of Merrion stockbrokers said that the more important seasonally adjusted unemployment rate - which was 10.3pc in January - was also likely to fall below the 10pc threshold soon. "There is now every chance the jobless rate will be back in single digits by May," he said.
An extra 29,100 people are working and there's been a sharp reduction in the number of people who are long-term unemployed in the 12 months to the final quarter of 2014, the CSO quarterly national household survey also shows.
A big pick-up in construction jobs and in the financial and real estate sectors contributed to the positive new figures.
They show the number of people out of work fell by 39,600 in the 12 months to the final quarter of 2014, bringing the total to 213,600, while the number of long-term unemployed fell from 7.2pc to 5.7pc.
The number of jobs in the public sector fell by 1,500 in the year to 375,000, although this should rise in 2015 with the ending of the recruitment ban, while the numbers working in the private sector increased by 37,400. The overall labour force - including all those working or seeking work - fell by 10,500 to 2.15 million.
The CSO attributed this to demographic factors, including more emigration.
John Drennan's Guide to Politics - Spring 2015
The next election will change your life. In a special supplement with the Sunday Independent, John Drennan presents his guide to Irish politics.
Guide To Politics
- And they're off: the great election race begins but, as to where it ends, sadly nobody knows
- The key issues - Remember tax reform is not illegal, Enda
- It's like a talent show - you have to make the audience want you
- Could our interrupted revolution lie in the humanising of our politicians?
- 'It's awful losing your seat, it's a very public humiliation...'
- Too early to rule out FG/SF Coalition
- Shadowy back room boys and girls with the ear of ministers
- Enda and Joan's shaky house of cabinet cards
- Despite Enda's stated preference Easter 2016 not yet definite
- As they hatch their plans, what might be the hopes and ambitions of our party schemers?
- Battle of the leaders to be key deciding factor in election race
- Spectral scenarios or sweet dreams
- When the fuss is over who will be the winner?
The Gender Gap
The Generation Game