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Employment growth continues in first quarter of 2004

There were 1,835,900 persons in employment in the first quarter of 2004, an increase of 52,300 or 2.9% in the year. This compares with an annual increase of 2.6% in the previous quarter and 1.7% in the corresponding quarter of 2003. Increases in the numbers in full-time employment accounted for just over 85% of the annual change.

The employment figure reflects a seasonal increase of 7,000 in the quarter, which compares to an increase of 1,300 in the same quarter last year. Falls of 6,400 and 1,700 were recorded in the first quarters of 2002 and 2001 respectively .

These figures are taken from the latest Quarterly National Household Survey results, published today (16th June 2004). The main results are summarised below.


Main results Q1 2004 Persons Change in quarter Change in year
Employment 1,835.9 +7.0 +52.3
Unemployment 83.6 -2.3 -1.6
Labour Force 1,919.5 +4.7 +50.8

Moderate decrease in numbers unemployed

In the first quarter of 2004, there were 83,600 persons unemployed, a quarterly decrease of 2,300 and an annual decrease of 1,600. This is the first annual decrease in the numbers unemployed since the second quarter of 2001. When seasonal factors are taken into account there was a quarterly decrease of 1,800 in the number of persons unemployed.

The unemployment rate fell from 4.6% to 4.4% in the year. The male unemployment rate was 4.7% and the female unemployment rate was 3.9%.

A revised QNHS series based on the results of the 2002 Census of Population were also published today. The revisions to the QNHS data series have had very little effect on the headline trends within the QNHS. At a regional level, while employment, unemployment and labour force trends have for the most part been maintained there are some differences in absolute terms.

For further information contact

Nicola Tickner on 021 453 5420 or Noel Ryan on 021 453 5491
Fax 021 453 5492

16 June 2004