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Quarterly National Household Survey, Quarter 3, 2008

Employment down by 25,000 in the third quarter

In the third quarter of 2008 there were 2,120,800 persons in employment, representing an annual decrease in employment of 25,200 or 1.2%, the first annual decline in employment since 1991. This compares with an annual growth rate of 0.3% in the previous quarter and a rate of 3.3% for the third quarter of 2007.

There was a decrease of over 32,000 or 2.6% in the number of men at work, while the number of women at work increased by over 7,000 or 0.8%. The largest decrease in male employment occurred in the Construction sector, where the number of males employed decreased by 27,000 or 10.0%.


Main Results Q2 2008
Change in Quarter
Change in Year
Labour Force

There were 160,600 persons unemployed in the third quarter representing an annual increase of 53,300. Male unemployment increased by 37,400 (+58.3%), with the number of unemployed females increasing by 16,000 (+37.1%). When seasonal factors are taken into account there was a quarterly increase of 23,200 in the numbers unemployed with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increasing from 5.4% to 6.3% between the second and third quarters of 2008.

At an overall level the total number of persons in the labour force now stands at 2,281,400, an increase of 28,100 or 1.2% in the year. This compares with an annual labour force growth of 1.0% in the previous quarter and 3.2% in the third quarter of 2007.

The largest decline in employment was recorded in the Construction sector where the numbers employed fell 25,900 (-9.1%) over the year. Annual decreases in employment were also recorded in the Other production industries (-9,400) and Hotels and restaurants (-5,400) sectors. Sectors showing an increase in employment over the year included Health (+7,300), Other services (+5,900) and Education (+5,600).

For further information contact

Tara Galvin on 021 453 5093 or Noel Ryan on 021 453 5491
Fax 021 453 5492

21 November 2008

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