CSO Labour Force Survey findings for Quarter 4 2017

21 Mar 2018

The CSO released its Labour Force Survey (LFS) findings for Quarter 4 2017 on Wednesday 14th March 2018.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) has replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS), which was traditionally used to establish employment by economic activity in Ireland.

Changes to the survey method introduced by CSO have been made to bring Ireland in line with EU standardised methodologies. Importantly the results incorporate adjustments to the data series to take account of revisions to population estimates arising from the 2016 Census of Population.

Jeanette Mair

Jeanette Mair, Economic & Policy Research

It is important to note the impact that the new LFS has on employment figures across all economic activities compared to the QNHS. The new LFS, which was introduced in Quarter 3 2017, is the most significant change to Labour Market statistics in Ireland since the introduction of the QNHS in Q4 1997. While the QNHS showed 147,000 persons employed in construction in Quarter 2 2017, the LFS Quarter 4 2017 showed 133,800 persons employed in construction (seasonally adjusted figure) in Quarter 4 2017.



Source: StatBank CSO

The CSO have made adjustments to the historic QNHS data to enable comparability with the new LFS for these indicators. However it is worth noting that the CSO states: “as a result of changes to the questionnaire, the interview mode, the introduction of a new sample, data processing changes and other methodological enhancements there are changes in the levels of some series from Q3 2017 onwards. As a consequence, the series before and after the introduction of the new survey may not be directly comparable and users should therefore note this when examining annual and quarterly changes”.

The LFS data show that there was an annual increase in overall employment of 3.1% or 66,800 in the year to Q4 2017, bringing total employment to 2,231,000. This compares with an annual increase of 2.2% or 48,100 in employment in the previous quarter and an increase of 3.8% or 79,200 in the year to Q4 2016.

In summary:

  • The increase in total employment of 66,800 in the year to Q4 2017 was represented by an increase in full-time employment of 90,100 (+5.4%) and a decrease in part-time employment of 23,300 (-4.8%).
  • Employment increased in twelve of the fourteen economic sectors over the year. The largest rates of increase were recorded in the Administrative and support service activities (+11.6% or 9,800) and the Construction (+9.9% or +12,000 [non-seasonally adjusted figure]).
  • The seasonally adjusted number of people employed in construction was 133,800 persons in Q4 2017.
  • Unemployment decreased by 23,400 (-14.0%) in the year to Q4 2017 bringing the total number of persons unemployed to 144,100. This is the twenty second quarter in succession where unemployment has declined on an annual basis.
  • The long-term unemployment rate decreased from 3.7% to 2.5% over the year to Q4 2017. Long-term unemployment accounted for 40.3% of total unemployment in Q4 2017.

The total number of persons in the labour force in the fourth quarter of 2017 was 2,375,200, representing an increase of 43,400 (+1.9%) over the year.

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