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Employment grew by 1.8% in 2003

On average, employment increased by 31,400 or 1.8% last year. This compares with average annual increases of 1.4% in 2002, 2.9% in 2001 and 4.7% in 2000. The average number of females in employment in 2003 was 18,000 (+2.4%) higher than in the previous year while the average number of male workers was up by 13,300 (+1.3%).

Employment growth in the fourth quarter was considerably stronger than in earlier quarters with the numbers at work increasing by 44,600 or 2.5% in the year.

These figures are taken from the latest Quarterly National Household Survey results, published today (11th March 2004). The main results are summarised below.


Main results Q4 2003 Persons Change in quarter Change in year
Employment 1,815.3 -5.5 +44.6
Unemployment 86.5 12.4 +2.4
Labour Force 1,901.8 17.9 +47.1

Over 50% of annual employment growth attributable to 25 to 34 year olds

Over 50% (22,500) of the annual employment growth of 44,600 was attributable to the 25-34 year age group. The number of males aged 25-34 in employment increased by 10,100 to 289,700 while the number of females rose by 12,400 to 237,400. Half (6,200) of the latter increase was accounted for by married females.


Modest increase in unemployment

There were 86,500 persons unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2003, representing a seasonal decrease of 12,400 in the quarter and an annual increase of 2,400 on the fourth quarter of 2002. The
seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell back to 4.6% in the fourth quarter from 4.9% in the previous three- month period.


Labour supply indicator decreases

The number of persons outside the labour force who expressed some interest in obtaining work decreased by 21,900 in the year. On the basis of this decrease, the broadest survey-based labour
supply indicator, S3, which includes persons outside the labour force who show some interest in obtaining work as well as the unemployed, decreased from 8.4% in the fourth quarter of 2002 to 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2003.


For further information contact

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

11 March 2004

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