The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the unemployment rate for Ireland in August 2019 was 5.2%. Putting the number of persons unemployed at 126,000, a decrease of 6,400 from 132,400 unemployed in August last year.
"The unemployment rate resumed its downward trend in August, following softer data for June and July. There continues to be strong competition to hire staff, particularly in areas with skills shortage such as finance, engineering, pharmaceuticals and technology. Whilst we may see further declines the rate cannot go down infinitely, and we are getting closer to a level that may be viewed as full employment." Economist at Indeed, Pawel Adrjan
The Republic’s booming economy is continuing to attract an influx of foreign workers with 43% of the growth in employment over the last year driven by non-Irish nationals. Ireland is increasingly looking to attract workers from overseas to fill new roles. This week the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will a ‘Careers in Ireland’ Jobs Fair in London aimed at people who are interested in living and working in Ireland and in August a new pre-clearance process was introduced to make it easier for partners of Irish citizens who are not from the European Economic Area to live and work in Ireland.
Despite the overall rise in Ireland’s rate of employment. A recent report in the Journal.ie stated that thousands of people aged 26 and under have been unemployed for a year or more. According to the report, the highest number of young people in long-term unemployment is in Dublin with 1,697 having no job, followed by Cork (526) and Limerick (469). The National Youth Council has welcomed the growth in apprenticeships in the last number of years, however, it also called for a €2m investment to help more young people access apprenticeship programmes.
The number of people at work is a key measurement of how the economy is doing. Ireland currently has record employment of 2.3m people at work in the Irish economy. Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, said the figures demonstrate the continued strength of the economy and show that more people are working here than ever before, and that represented an important development as the country faces the challenges Brexit may bring.
Speaking to BusinessWorld.ie, Pawel Adrjan had this to say about Brexit, "Notwithstanding the fact that fears of Brexit could help Ireland attract workers looking to leave the UK, the more serious risk is of the economic shock a no-deal Brexit could cause for Ireland. Instability and likely recession in our nearest neighbour and most important export market will almost certainly put pressure on the current benign labour market situation.”
The uncertainty around Brexit has also sparked an increase in the number of UK residents applying for Irish passports. Nearly 20,000 more first-time passports were issued to UK residents at the start of 2019 compared with Irish citizens. A total of 78,744 first-time passports were issued to people living in Great Britain and Northern Ireland between January and June 2019. The sharp increase in applications is most likely a move by the applicants to hold on to their right to free movement in the EU. Allowing them to work and live in the territories of the EU member states, including Ireland.
Note: The unemployment rate is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labour force.