Thursday, June 25, 2009

QNHS Employment Figures for Ireland

Figures released today in the Central Statistics Office's Quarterly National Household Survey show that the unemployment rate increased from 4.9% to 10.2% over the last year.

Nine out of the fourteen NACE sectors showed a decrease in employment over
the year. The largest decline in employment was recorded in the Construction
sector where the numbers employed fell by 72,200 (-28.6%) over the year.

Which NACE sectors had an increase in employment over the year?
(i) Information and Communication: 1,000 more employed
(ii) Financial, Insurance and Real Estate: 200 more employed
(iii) Public administration and defence; compulsory social security: 3,000 more employed
(iv) Education: 10,600 more employed
(v) Human health and social work activities: 2,100 more employed

However, Brendan Walsh has noted that while the QHNS is based on more economically meaningful (ILO) definitions (compared to the Live Register), it too needs to be handled with care. (For example, anyone working for pay or profit for one hour a week or more is classified as employed.)


Martin Ryan said...

The most recent release from the Live Register showed that the standardised unemployment rate rose to 11.8% in May.

Karl Whelan
has emphasised, the Live Register is not designed to measure unemployment. It includes part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance.

Does this mean that the amount of workers in labour market distress are at least 1.6% of the labour force, but probably much more than this? Given that the Live Register does not record all workers working less than a five-day week?

Martin Ryan said...

I have found some definitions for job seekers' benefit (JB) and job seekers' allowance (JA) to be quite useful.

To qualify for JB, a person must be unemployed for at least 3 days in 6 and must suffer a substantial loss of employment and be available for work and looking for work. Unemployed persons who are classified as casual workers do not have to have suffered a substantial loss of employment.

JA is a means-tested payment made to people who are unemployed and who do not qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit or whose entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit has expired.

Some other useful information:

Jobseeker's Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance rates are made up of a weekly personal rate of €204.30 and increases for a Qualified Adult (€135.60), and Qualified Children (€26).

All of the above is available on the website:

Martin Ryan said...

As at May '09, there were 193,257 JB claimants, 190,176 JA applicants and 13,438 other Live Register (LR) registrants, amounting to 396,871.

If my interpretation of the definitions are correct, then some (but by no means all) of the JA applicants are individuals whose JB has expired. However, I think it is wise to be cautious in interpreting this difference as having anything to do with unemployment duration.

To elaborate, it is worth looking at the LR figures for those under 25 years of age. There are twice as many JA applicants compared to JB claimants, under the age of 25. If younger LR registrants are less likely to be long-term unemployed, then this indicates that JA is not measuring long-term unemployment.

Conversely, over the age of 25, there are more JB claimants than JA applicants, approximately 20% more.

More information is available from the CSO however; I found this document (as at 13th May) on
"Live Register Age by Duration"

From this, we know that short term claimants increased by 113.4% in year to April 2009. The number of long term claimants increased by 21,273 (+42.9%) in the year to
April 2009.

It is not explicitly defined, but it appears that short-term is less than 1 year; long-term is greater than one year.

According to the document, the current series of half-yearly age by duration analyses of the Live Register was introduced in
April 1989. The age by duration analysis usually relates to the second-last Friday of April and

Kevin Denny said...

The 10k+ in education is interesting. Presumably most are in the public sector? The public finances haven't looked good for some time. I wonder how many are full-time & how many are temporary positions?

Martin Ryan said...

It's an interesting question Kevin. If I understand correctly, those in employment include anyone working one hour or more. As Brendan Walsh noted, "anyone working for pay or profit for one hour a week or more is classified as employed."

So the 10K+ increase in education could include people doing just a few hours a week on a short-term contract.

My motivation for looking at the NACE sectors that have had employment increases was to see where the economy may be headed, in terms of potential skills-shortages. But the caveat remains about how to interpret the data of course.