Slowdown in number of new jobs in almost all sectors of economy

Number of people employed in Ireland rose to just over 2.4 million in February

'Employment growth in Ireland remains very strong,” said economist Simon Barry

Sarah Collins

The Irish jobs market is showing signs of cooling after a post-pandemic bounce, with losses in the tech sector accelerating since the start of the year.

The number of people employed in Ireland rose 4.2pc in the year to February to just over 2.4 million, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The number of women and under-25s in jobs rose faster than other groups.

But underlying data, which is not seasonally adjusted, shows the pace of growth is weakening, said economist Simon Barry.

Jobs in all 17 economic sectors covered by the CSO’s monthly estimates of payroll employees grew in the year to February, with agriculture and hospitality growing at the fastest pace, while arts and finance jobs grew at the slowest pace.

But there was a slowdown in growth between January and February in all sectors except public services and agriculture.

“The latest figures show that year-on-year employee employment growth in Ireland remains very strong,” Mr Barry said.

“But today’s figures do highlight that the latest cooling in the pace of jobs growth has been broadly based across sectors.”

Non-seasonally adjusted figures show jobs growth has decelerated in 11 of the past 12 months, from a peak of 18.4pc in February 2022, Mr Barry said.

Mr Barry, Ulster Bank’s former chief economist, said using underlying data paints a truer picture of the jobs market as seasonally adjusted data has been distorted by Covid.

A total of 1,300 tech jobs were lost in January and February, he said, with tech employment now running 1.3pc below its peak last August – although it is still more than 18pc ahead of where it was pre-pandemic.

“The emerging softening of jobs trends in the very latest figures is a reflection of the headwinds now facing the [tech] sector, which have been evident in recent high-profile job cut announcements,” said Mr Barry.

The figures tally with recent Central Bank estimates that 1,474 tech jobs were lost by March this year.

The CSO payroll data is the most up-to-date information available on the numbers employed in the Irish economy. It is more frequent than the quarterly labour force survey and covers a much wider cohort of people. However, the data has only been collected since 2019.