Employment of young women down 17,100

Posted on February 27, 2014 by Rory O'Farrell

The latest data from the CSO shows employment up roughly 60,000 since the same period of last year, getting close to levels last seen at the end of 2009 (and first seen back in 2005).

Interestingly, of the increase in employment of 61,000, over three quarters almost (47,100) of the increase was for men aged over 35. Employment for men aged under 35 was relatively stable (showing a slight increase of over 3,000).

However, employment of women aged under 35 is down 17,100. This could possibly be due to a decrease in public sector employment which continues to fall year on year. Public sector cutbacks have impacted on hiring for traditionally female occupations (such as primary teachers and nurses), which can explain why this group is hit disproportionately hard. The decline in employment for young women is not necessarily due to job destruction, but employed women moving into the older age category, while new jobs are not created for younger women.

There are technical issues regarding the data (collected as part of the Quarterly National Household Survey). The CSO is moving to a new sample to take account of changes in the country's population recorded in the last census. Though caution must be shown regarding the breakdown of figures (e.g. by economic sector) the CSO are relatively happy with regard to the headline employment number.

Almost half the employment increase is for the self-employed, and the CSO state that part of this may be due to sampling issues. Nevertheless, the number of employees has increased by over 25,000 (a figure which corresponds to separate earnings and labour cost data produced by the CSO). Comparing Q4 of 2013 with Q4 of 2012, the live register is down only 25,000, though the QNHS reports unemployment as down 41,400. The live register does not measure unemployment, but it is hard to reconcile the two figures. It can possibly be explained by a large number of workers going from home duties (not looking for work), to being in employment. However, given that it is usually women who are in this situation, the numbers remain something of a puzzle.

Posted in: GenderJobs

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