Saturday, January 31, 2015

Who’s back at work?

We know that employment is increasing.  The rate accelerated briefly in early 2013 before falling back but the level increased again in the second and third quarters of 2014.  From the trough in 2012 Q1 total employment had increased by a just over 100,000 to 2014 Q3 (without seasonal adjusting).

On a more like-for-like basis total employment between Q3 2012 and Q3 2014 has risen 85,600.  The annual increase was 58,000 in Q3 2013 though this had reduced to 27,600 in Q3 2014.

Using the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) we will go under the hood to see where this increase 85,600 increases has arisen in the two years to q3 2014. 

Total employment

We will look at the following at the following breakdowns:

  • Gender
  • Full-time versus Part-time
  • Employee and Self-Employed
  • Region
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Education
  • Hours Worked
  • Full-Time Equivalents
  • Aggregate Wages

The CSO also provide breakdowns by economic sector and occupational groups but these were distorted by the incorrect treatment of workers in the agriculture sector that was revealed by Census 2011 so are omitted here.

First is the breakdown by gender.  Over the past two years male employment has risen by more (+62,400) than female employment (+23,300) though obviously male employment fell far more in the recession.

Employment by Gender

Next is the difference between full- and part-time employment.  When employment starting increasing in 2012 full-time employment was flat.  The increase was driven by the long-run increase in the number of part-time employees.  Since 2013 full-time employment has taken over as the main source of the increase.

Full and part time employment

Two year changes:

  • Full-time employment: +79,700 (Male +59,900; Female +19,800)
  • Part-time employment: +5,900 (Male +2,500; Female +3,500)

The changes by gender are shown here:

Male employment by FT and PTFemale employment by FT and PT

For part-time employment it is also worth noting that the number who consider themselves to be underemployed is falling.

Part Time Employed Underemployed by Gender

Next we look at the changes for employee and self-employed workers.

Employee and Self-Employed

Two year changes:

  • Employees: +48,400 (Male +35,600; Female +12,900)
  • Self-Employed: +37,900 (Male +27,500; Female +10,300)

Moving on to employment by region:

Employment by Region

Two years changes:

  • South-west: +2,300 (0.8%)
  • West: unchanged (-)
  • Border: +18,300 (+10.6%)
  • Mid-West: +4,700 (+3.1%)
  • Midlands: +7,500 (+7.1%)
  • South-east: +18,800 (+10.2%)
  • Dublin: +28,100 (+5.1%)
  • Mid-east: +6,100 (+2.7%)

The largest relative increases have been in the Border and South-east regions where employment has grown by more than 10 per cent.

Here’s the total number employed by age.

Employment by Age

Obviously demographics (number of births etc.) have a role to play here but these are the two year changes:

  • 15-24 years: -3,200 (Male +2,200; Female -5,600)
  • 25-34 years: -22,000 (Male -6,200; Female -15,700)
  • 35-44 years: +43,800 (Male +19,700; Female +24,200)
  • 45-54 years: +26,700 (Male +18,500; Female +8,200)
  • 55-64 years: +28,900 (Male +19,500; Female +9,300)
  • 65 and over: +11,600 (Male +8,700; Female +2,900)

The age profile of Irish workers in increasing.  And this is evident by looking at the trends since 1997 for workers aged over 55. 

Employment by Age over 55

The number of workers aged 65 and over has nearly doubled in the past decade with the fastest increase happening in the past two years.  Here are charts of the changes in the age profile of workers by gender since 2008 that were listed above:

Male employment by ageFemale employment by age

Next we turn to employment by nationality.

Employment by Nationality

Most of the increase in the past two years has been recorded for employment of Irish nationals with a notable increase also shown for non-EU nationals.

  • Irish: +70,700 (+4.5%)
  • UK: +1,900 (+4.0%)
  • EU15: +3,700 (-2.6%)
  • EU Accession: –7,600 (+2.9%)
  • Other: +17,000 (+25.6%)

Next is employment by education though the data is only partial and does not extend beyond the start of 2013.

Employment by EducationEmployment by Education - MalesEmployment by Education - Females

Finally(!) employment by number of hours worked

Employment by Hours Worked

Two year changes:

  • 1-19 Hours: +7,600 (+5.1%)
  • 20-29 Hours: -9,600 (-3.8%)
  • 30-34 Hours: +4,400 (+4.6%)
  • 35-39 Hours: +1,600 (+0.2%)
  • 40-44 Hours: +75,200 (+19.7%)
  • 45 and Over: +30,600 (+17.3%)

The categories with the increases are fairly clear. In the past two years the number of people working 40 or more hours a week has increased by 105,800!  Here is a look at the trends since 1997 in the number of people working more than 40 hours a week.

Employment by Hours Worked over 40

The number of people working 40-44 hours per week has never been higher.  This changes in hours worked mean that just looking at number of people in employment may not give the full picture of the change in employment activity in the economy.  This appears to be the case if we compare an index of the number employed against an index of the number of full-time equivalents.

Employed versus FTEs

From Q1 2013 the number of people employed has grown by 4.4 per cent while the number of full-time equivalents has grown by 5.4 per cent.  There are both more people working and people working more.

Is this extra activity bringing any benefits?  It appears so if we look at compensation of employees (wages) received by the household sector from the Institutional Sector Accounts.

Compensation of Employees Received

In Q1 2013 employee compensation received by the household sector was €17.9 billion; in Q3 2014 it was €18.9 billion – a rise of 5.6 per cent.  We won’t venture too far into the institutional sector accounts to track the transition of this through taxes on income, disposable income and consumption (the CSO have not completed the transition from ESA95 to ESA2010 for the back series). 

It doesn’t seem likely that wages would have been majorly affected by the methodological changes in ESA2010 so the above chart is probably sound – and is supported by the improvements in employment activity.  GDP mightn’t tell be telling us a lot about the Irish economy at the moment (contract manufacturing and all that) but the labour market statistics point to improvement.  It was faster in 2013 than in 2014 so subsequent QNHS releases (as well as the updated ISAs) will be interesting to follow.

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