Discussions of Irish unemployment generally focus on the standard ILO unemployment rate, currently 14.3%, and youth unemployment rates, for example 27.7% for those aged 20-24. However these rates are merely a lower bound for the excess labour supply that currently exists.
Similarly to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in the US, the CSO produces a number of alternative measures to the ILO unemployment rate. These are contained in Table S7 here (this table is not contained in the usual QNHS release). The alternative measures are:
S1: Unemployed plus discouraged workers as a percentage of the Labour Force plus discouraged workers.
S2: Unemployed plus marginally attached plus others not in education who want work as a percentage of the Labour Force plus marginally attached plus others not in education who want work.
S3: Unemployed plus marginally attached plus others not in education who want work plus underemployed part-time workers as a percentage of the Labour Force plus marginally attached plus others not in education who want work. From Q3 2008 part-time underemployment was calculated in a new way, by removing the condition that the respondent be actively looking for an additional or replacement job.
These rates are shown in the following figure (click to enlarge).
So under S3, the widest measure, unemployment is currently 24% and steadily increasing. The individual elements of S3 are shown in Table 1A of the QNHS; underemployment appears to be the main driver of the measure at present.
When this is combined with the skills lost by those who are unemployed, the experience forgone by those who would have jobs in times of “normal” employment levels and the psychological costs incurred by the long-term unemployed, we can see that the standard unemployment rate falls short of describing the true extent of losses due to unemployment.
Cross-posted at http://irisheconthoughts.wordpress.com/.