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Information Note on Changes to CSO Monthly Unemployment Statistics

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In 2015 the CSO commenced publication of monthly unemployment estimates, based on the latest Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) data on unemployment and the latest Live Register data (see Background Notes on website for more detail).

The monthly unemployment estimates are calculated by taking the latest available QNHS survey data as a benchmark (starting point) and applying the trend from Live Register data to estimate unemployment for subsequent months. Each quarter when new QNHS benchmark data becomes available the entire monthly unemployment series is revised. 

Normally the November unemployment estimates would be based on Quarter 3 (Q3) QNHS data and Live Register data from October and November, and the retrospective monthly series would be revised to take account of the new Q3 QNHS data.

However, as part of a major modernisation project, the CSO discontinued the QNHS in Q2 2017 and introduced a new Labour Force Survey (LFS) in Q3 2017. Work on finalising the LFS survey data for Q3 2017 is still underway and this will not be published until January 16th, 2018. As a result, there are no published Q3 benchmark figures available to provide the basis for compiling the monthly unemployment series in the usual way.

During this transition period between the old and new surveys, the monthly unemployment estimates for the release on December 5th, 2017 for reference month November 2017 will continue to use the same methodology, including the latest Live Register data but with adjustments to the historic QNHS series to create more up-to-date benchmarks.

These adjustments are required to ensure comparability with the new LFS series which will be introduced with the publication of Q3 2017 data in January 2018. The adjustments are based on a comparison of QNHS and LFS data from a parallel run undertaken at the beginning of 2017 (detailed technical information will be contained in the Background Notes for the release on December 5th, 2017). 

The adjustments will result in changes to the absolute volumes and rates previously published but the underlying trend will be largely unchanged.

The monthly unemployment estimates which will be included in the release on December 5th, 2017 for reference month November 2017 should be treated as preliminary, and will be revised in January 2018 when new data from the Q3 2017 LFS becomes available.

Users should also note that because of the preliminary nature of these revisions, the CSO is not in a position to provide breakdowns of the estimates by gender or age in the monthly unemployment release on December 5th.

Finally, the monthly unemployment release for reference month December 2017, which was previously scheduled to be issued on January 3rd, 2018, has been deferred. Updated monthly unemployment estimates, including breakdowns by gender and age, will be issued as part of the new finalised Q3 2017 LFS release, which is scheduled for publication on January 16th, 2018.

Published 1st December 2017.

  • Catalina Gonzalez   (+353) 21 4535163

  • Martina O'Callaghan   (+353) 21 4535491

  • Email: labour@cso.ie