Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How far back?

Today’s release of the Q4 2010 Quarterly National Household Survey makes for grim reading.  Here will we consider the decline in the some of the main employment measures and how much of the Celtic Tiger growth has been given up.  These are non-seasonally adjusted figures.

First here’s total employment in the economy.

Total Numbers Employed

Total employment is now back to levels last seen in the middle of 2003. Employment peaked at 2.15 million in the middle of 2007.   Since then employment has fallen by 326,600 and now stands at 1.82 million.

This just gives the total numbers in employment.  Another issue to consider is the type of employment.  At the start of 2007, 82.6% of those employed were in full-time employment with 17.4% employed part-time.  The figures for Q4 2010 show that percentage of those employed in full-time employment has fallen to 76.8%, with a corresponding increase in the percentage part-time employed to 23.2%.

If we focus on the total numbers in full-time employment we find we have to back further than 2003.

Full Time Employed

Those in full-time employment is now back to a level not seen since 2000.  On the other hand the numbers employed part-time have never been greater as shown here.

Part Time Employed

Until 2007, the increase in the numbers part-time employed was because of an increase in female part-time employment.  Since then this has been largely unchanged and the increase in part-time employment since 2007 is because of increasing male part time employment.  Graph in here.

To finish we can look at the patterns in the numbers in full-time employment by gender .

Full Time Employed by Gender

It is evident that the drop in employment has been more severe among male workers.  The number of males in full-time employment was 853,000 in Q4 2010.  This is lower than it was in Q3 1998 when 868,900 males were in full-time employment.  At that time there was 71,000 unemployed males looking for full-time employment.  Now there are 199,200 seeking similar.

Male full-time employment is now back to 1998 levels.


  1. Seamus - in your blog feed every post comes up with a date of 1st Jan 2011. Not complaining or anything, just thought you might like to know so it could be fixed

  2. Excellent analysis of data.
    But what dismal disastrous management of an economy over a 13 year period.
    It points to the immediate need of a jobs program, however constituted.

  3. Hi Cormac,

    Thanks for the info. I'd fix it if I knew how!

  4. I agree with you Seamus, when I was trawling through them they certainly didn't make cheery reading. I was particularly dismayed with the increase in unemployment to 14.7% which is 1 percentage point higher than that in the Live Register measure. Given that the QNHS is more accurate than the Register, this increase in the unemployment measure is unwelcome news.

    I'm also dispirited by the continued trend of falling employment levels set out in the Survey. I thought with the other indicators (Live Register, redundancy figures, vacancies on online job sites and employment indices in PMI reports) that the jobs market had begun to recover towards the end of last year. The QNHS has poured cold water on this hope and it seems that we must wait for a recovery trend to emerged in the labour market this year.

    Given that we're almost back to where we started with the now ex-Government, it is imperative that a recovery in the jobs market is given every support possible by the new Government.