There were 2,533,200 people in the labour force in Q2 2021, an increase of 274,000 or 12.1% over the year
Numbers in the Labour Force and Participation rate
There were 2,533,200 people aged 15-89 years in the labour force in Q2 2021 using the standard LFS labour market measures based on the ILO criteria. This represented an increase of 274,000 or 12.1% over the year. This compares with an annual labour force decrease of 167,900 (-6.9%) in Q2 2020 and an increase of 32,400 (+1.4%) in Q2 2019. See Table 9.1
The number of males in the labour force increased by 9.8% (+121,500) to 1,362,700 in the year to Q2 2021 while the number of females in the labour force increased by 15.0% (+152,500) to 1,170,500. See Table 9.1.
The participation rate for all persons aged 15 years or more stood at 63.1% in Q2 2021 up from 56.9% a year earlier. In Q2 2021, the participation rate for males was 69.1% compared to 57.3% for females. Looking at the participation rates by age group, it was lowest for oldest and youngest age groups at 4.4% for those aged 75 and over, 21.5% for those aged 65-74 years and 28.4% for those aged 15-19 years. The participation rate was highest among the 35-44-year age group at 85.0%. See Tables 9.1 and 9.8.
The number of people in the labour force is influenced by changes in the size of the working age population (the demographic effect). Up to late 2008, this demographic effect added at least 30,000 to the labour force each year, driven mainly by immigration, peaking at 90,500 in Q2 2007.
The positive demographic effect started to fall in the second half of 2007 as immigration decreased. It continued to fall in 2008 and 2009 and was negative between Q3 2009 and Q1 2014. The demographic effect turned positive again in Q2 2014 and has remained positive since then, contributing an increase of 16,100 to the labour force in the year to Q2 2021.
In addition to the demographic effect, the change in the size of the labour force is influenced by changes in participation. The overall participation rate increased by 6.2 percentage points to 63.1% over the year, the net result of changes in individual age groups for the same period was a positive participation effect of 257,900. See Tables 9.1 and 9.8.
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