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Employment up by 80,000 to all-time record of 2.36 million

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Higher childcare costs may mean fewer women in work

Higher childcare costs may mean fewer women in work

Higher childcare costs may mean fewer women in work

Brexit fears have failed to slow the growth in jobs, with the number of people at work reaching a record high of 2.36 million last year.

Employment rose by 3.5pc, or just under 80,000 people, new figures revealed.

At the same time, unemployment fell by just over 14pc, or 18,300 people, according to the Central Statistics Office's labour force survey.

By the end of last year, the number of people out of work was down to 110,600.

Joblessness has fallen over 30 consecutive three-monthly periods and unemployment is close to pre-crash levels.

It was at 4.7pc in December, down from 5pc in September.

Long-term unemployment accounted for 35pc of total unemployment compared with nearly 39pc a year ago.

The survey also revealed that the number of public servants rose from 333,300 in 2016 to 351,300 last year.

However, the figures also showed far more men in work than women, which may reflect high childcare costs.

A total of 76pc of men of working age had jobs compared with just under 65pc of women.

Statistician Jim Dalton said the figures showed continued strong growth in employment.

He said employment grew in 13 of 14 sectors, with the biggest increase in the ICT industry, where those with jobs rose by almost 11pc, or 12,300 people.

Robust

The second-highest rate of increase was seen in the financial, insurance and property sector.

There was a slight fall in the number at work in the retail and wholesale sector.

Construction employment increased but growth has slowed .

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the record level of employment was due to a robust labour market and strong economy.

"Despite a challenging year in 2019 due to Brexit uncertainty and a slowdown in international markets, today's figures show the continued strength in our labour market," he said.

"The level of employment grew by 1,250 per week last year.

"The number of people at work reached another all-time high, with 2,350,600 people in employment in the fourth quarter last year."

Economist Tom McDonnell, of the Nevin Economic Research Institute, said the recovery that started in Dublin has reached all regions.

He noted that unemployment in the south-west at 3.7pc is the lowest in the country, while it is highest in the south-east at 6.8pc.

However, Mr McDonnell said Brexit has only happened politically, rather than economically, due to the lack of a trade deal, so the real risk will come on December 31.

His colleague Ciaran Nugent noted that 38pc of employment growth was due to part-time jobs, while the number of under-employed people barely changed over the year.


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