Employment creation slows to 1,700 as lone mothers left behind
Posted on May 26, 2014 by Rory O'Farrell
In somewhat disappointing results (seasonally adjusted) employment grew by only 1,700 jobs in the first quarter of the year. In many ways 2013 can be seen as a blip in terms of job creation as various temporary factors (such as 'The Gathering', self-employed workers moving off Jobseekers Benefit payment, and a temporary bounce following the stabilisation of the economy) came together. That employment in the accommodation and food sector has remained stable can be viewed positively given the end of the boost received by 'The Gathering'.
Job creation has been male dominated, with all male age groups showing an increase in employment rates. Though employment rates are up for women aged 25-34 (increasing from 68.2% to 69.3%) it has decreased for female youths (ages 15-24) going from 47.5% to 45.6%. This gender difference can at least be partly explained by public sector hiring restrictions as the public sector has tended to hire larger numbers of young women. Looking at employment rates gives a better indication of developments for such age groups than raw employment numbers as the numbers in employment at a certain age group can fall due to pure demographic factors (as the population ages).
In unadjusted terms employment is down 21,600 in the first quarter but this is due to seasonal factors, as seasonal workers that were hired for the Christmas period are laid off. Annual changes (comparing Q1 of 2014 to Q1 2013) are sometimes used as they help overcome the problems of seasonal data. Employment is up 42,700 in annual terms, though the vast bulk of that increase happened during 2013. Over the year the sectors with the biggest increases have been in Professional, scientific and technical activities (up 11,800 year on year) and Accommodation and food service activities (up 13,500). This is consistent with the pattern of labour market polarisation in which job growth happens in relatively high paying or low paying jobs, with middle paying jobs being hollowed out due to computerisation and outsourcing. The biggest employment decrease is seen in a fall of 5,900 jobs in the Wholesale and Retail sector. Overall jobs are still being lost due to a weak domestic economy as Government spending cuts have reduced the amount of money in the economy, and job increases have occurred where there is a foreign market (such as tourism).
From a social point of view the figures are also interesting. The geographical spread of job creation has altered. Though the bulk of employment increases have occurred in Dublin (up 25,800 year on year) the second highest region is the South-East (up 9,300) which includes Waterford City. Employment has actually fallen in the West (down 1,600) which includes Galway City and the South-West (down 900) which includes Cork City. The previous pattern of job creation only in Dublin, Cork and Galway seems to have changed. The employment increases in Dublin are also reflected in the increase in housing pressures in the capital.
In terms of unemployment the biggest falls are for the long-term unemployed out of work for a year or more (down 24,400 year on year) with the short-term unemployed also down (by 10,500).
Less positively however, employment of female lone parents is down 7,900 compared to the same period last year.