Employment

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Hours worked per week is up 6.8 million hours in the year to Q4 2021 and up marginally from Q4 2019

Numbers Employed and Hours Worked

Using the standard Labour Force Survey (LFS) methodology, there were 2,506,000 persons in employment in Q4 2021 but 252,100 of those (10.1%) were "Away from work" in the reference week. This compares to 2,276,800 persons in employment in Q4 2020, of whom 295,700 (13.0%) were "Away from work" in the reference week.

The official number of persons in employment was up 10.1% (+229,100) in the year to Q4 2021. The number of absences from work has decreased over the year, while the number of employed persons at work in the reference week has increased by 13.8% (+272,800). Therefore, there has been an increase of 9.6% or 6.8 million hours worked per week from 70.8 million hours in Q4 2020 to 77.6 million hours in Q4 2021.

The increase of 229,100 (+10.1%) in employment is composed of increases of 95,800 (+7.8%) for males and 133,400 (+12.8%) for females in the year to Q4 2021. See Tables 9.1 and 9.7.

Figure 3.1 Number of persons aged 15 - 89 years in employment, Quarter 4 2017 to Quarter 4 2021

Comparing figures from now to two years ago, there was an increase of 6.3% or +148,700 in the number of persons in employment since Q4 2019 when there were 2,357,300 persons in employment. At that time there were 186,900 employed persons (7.9%) “Away from work” in the reference week so the number of employed persons who were working in the reference week stood at 2,170,400. The increase in employment together with the increase in the number of absences from work in the reference week since Q4 2019 has led to an increase in the total number of hours worked per week from 77.5 million hours in Q4 2019 to 77.6 million hours in Q4 2021 (+0.1%). See Table 7.3.

Figure 3.2 Total number of hours actually worked per week, Quarter 4 1998 to Quarter 4 2021

Employment Rates

The employment rate for those aged 15-64 was 73.0% in Q4 2021 compared to 67.0% in Q4 2020 and 70.1% in Q4 2019. In Q4 2021, the employment rate for males aged 15-64 years was 76.9% compared to 69.1% for females. Looking at the rates by age group, the employment rate was lowest among those aged 15-19 years (27.8%) and highest among those aged 25-34 years (84.4%). The employment rate for males was higher than the corresponding rate for females for all age groups, other than the 15-19 years and 20-24 years age group, with differences of over 6 percentage points in the employment rates for all age groups aged 25-64 years. The employment rates for males and females in the 15-19 year age group were 25.2% and 30.6% respectively. See Tables 9.1 and 9.8.

Figure 3.3 Employment rate for those aged 15-64 years by sex, Quarter 4 1998 to Quarter 4 2021

Economic Sector

Employment increased in 12 economic sectors in the year to Q4 2021 with the level of employment in a number of sectors exceeding the levels from the same quarter in 2019. These include the:

• Information and Communication sector which was 30.9% or 39,400 higher in Q4 2021 when compared to Q4 2019
• Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities sector which was up 22.8% or 32,200 when compared to Q4 2019

Some sectors have not yet recovered fully from the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the most notable of these are the:

• Administrative and Support Service Activities sector which was 14.6% or 16,300 less in Q4 2021 than it was in Q4 2019
• Accommodation and Food Service Activities Sector, which was down by 9.7% or 17,300 from Q4 2019

See Table 9.2 and Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 Persons aged 15 - 89 years in employment classified by NACE Rev. 2 Economic Sector, Quarter 4 2019 and Quarter 4 2021

Employment Status

The number of employees increased by 216,500 (+11.2%) in the year ending Q4 2021 to 2,154,500, while the number of self-employed increased by 700 (+0.2%) to 326,500. See Table 9.5.

Employment increased by 229,100 in the year to Q4 2021, with 102,000 (+5.5%) more persons in full-time employment and 127,200 (+30.0%) more persons in part-time employment. See Table 9.1.

Figure 3.5 Persons aged 15 - 89 years in employment classified by sex and full-time/part-time status, Quarter 4 2017 to Quarter 4 2021

NUTS 3 Regions

Employment increased over the year in all eight NUTS 3 regions with the Mid-West region enjoying the largest percentage increase at 13.4% compared to the West region with the lowest at 6.6%.  See Table 9.9.

Figure 3.6 Persons aged 15 - 89 years in employment by NUTS 3 Region, Quarter 4 2020 and Quarter 4 2021
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