Sunday, January 10, 2010

1 in 3 Men Unemployed, Under the Age of 25

I mentioned some statistics about current conditions in the Irish labour market in a recent post. 1 out of 8 individuals in the Irish labour force are unemployed. Taking account of labour force withdrawal and reduced working time, it is estimated that approximately 1 out of 7 are in some form of labour market distress. Gender breakdowns indicate that 2 out of 3 of these individuals are male. The latest Live Register figures show that almost twice as many men are claiming unemployment benefit (or allowance), compared to women.

Despite many posts on this blog flagging youth and graduate unemployment (a recent one is here); I was still somewhat surprised to read in today's Irish Independent that 1 in 3 men under the age of 25 are now unemployed. I decided to take a look at the most recent QNHS publication; the figure of 1 in 3 is indeed correct. Table 14 from the QNHS publication (shown below) indicates that 36.9% of males ages 15-19 are unemployed; and that 31.7% of males aged 20-24 are unemployed. This approximates to one third of males under the age of 25 being currently unemployed. The number of persons under 25 years of age on the Live Register are available on Table 2b (page 3) of Friday's Live Register release: the figure is 84,400. (Click on the table below to see a larger picture of QNHS Table 14).

What else can we learn from the table above? Looking at both genders under the age of 25, approximately 27% are currently unemployed; this figure is over double the current national average of 12.5%. The gender difference in unemployment is most marked in the 20-24 age-group; twice as many males (compared to females) are unemployed in this category. There are also twice as many males unemployed in the 25-34 age-group. These ratios are in line with the national figures for unemployment (2 out of 3 unemployed individuals are male). Across both genders, the highest concentration of unemployment is in the 15-19 age-group, followed by the 20-24 age-group; and monotonically decreasing for higher age-groups.

Finally, what can we infer about graduate unemployment? If we consider the 20-24 age-group on its own, we see that one quarter of these individuals are unemployed; and that males account for two thirds of the unemployment figure. Only a subset of individuals in the 20-24 age-group hold graduate qualifications; what we know about this demographic comes from the QNHS Special Module on Educational Attainment that ran from 2003-2008 (see Table 2 on page 6 of the Pdf). In March-May of 2008 (the most recent data available), 25% of the 20-24 age-group holds a third-level qualification (non-degree, degree, or above). 45% of the 25-34 age-group holds a third-level qualification as at March-May 2008; the higher attainment level of the 25-34 age-group suggests that graduate unemployment is as much (if not more) of a problem for this age-group.

To re-cap, we know from the QNHS Special Module on Educational Attainment that 25% of the 20-24 age-group, and 45% of the 25-34 age-group, had third-level qualifications as at March-May 2008. From the most recent QNHS we know that 24.2% of 20-24 year-olds, and 14.1% of 25-34 year-olds, are unemployed. However, it is important to be careful at this juncture, because we cannot yet tell whether unemployed individuals (aged 20-24 or 25-34) are more or less likely to have third-level qualifications. Though it only refers to March-May 2008, the most indicative source of information about graduate unemployment appears to be the breakdown of ILO employment status by educational attainment and age-category in the QNHS Special Module on Educational Attainment. Table 5 in the QNHS Special Module shows the employment rates of persons aged 25 to 64 by highest level of education attained. Unfortunately, 25-64 is the only age-range used; and QNHS Database Direct does not include the educational attainment variable.

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