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Persons not in the Labour Force

Persons not in the Labour Force

In Q4 2023 there were 90,000 persons available for work but not seeking work, this is up from 48,500 a year earlier and down from the 91,200 recorded in Q4 2021

Online ISSN: 2565-5728
CSO statistical publication, , 11am

The number of persons not in the labour force in Q4 2023 was 1,494,500 which was up 0.1% or 1,700 from a year earlier. See Table 7.1.

Persons aged 15 years or over are classified as not being in the Labour Force (Inactive) if they do not satisfy the ILO criteria for being classified as Employed or Unemployed – see Background Notes.

The Potential Additional Labour Force (PALF) is the sum of the two groups ‘Seeking work but not immediately available’ and ‘Available for work but not seeking work’. Persons in the PALF are not part of the standard labour force, which encompasses only Employed and Unemployed people, but they have a stronger attachment to the labour market than other persons not in the labour force.

The Potential Additional Labour Force for Q4 2023 was 105,700, which was made up of 90,00 persons Available but not seeking work and 15,700 persons Seeking but not immediately available for work. The total PALF of 105,700 is up from 61,000 in Q4 2022 and 105,000 in Q4 2021. See Table 7.1.

Q4 2021Q4 2022Q4 2023
Available for work but not seeking work912004850090000
Seeking work but not immediately available138001240015700

Of those who stated that they wanted to work but were not seeking work or available for work in Q4 2023, 27.3% said this was due to education or training. This compares to 20.3% a year earlier and 19.5% in Q4 2021.  Persons not seeking work due to own illness or disability accounted for 32.3% of the total in Q4 2023, down from 39.5% in Q4 2022 and down from 40.2% in Q4 2021.

Q4 2020Q4 2021Q4 2022Q4 2023
Other reasons13.614.711.214.1
Care responsibilities/personal family reasons22.625.528.826.3
Own illness or disability35.940.239.532.3
Education or training2819.520.327.3

Additional data on Potential Labour Supply with explanatory notes are available in QLF30.

Table 7.1 Detailed breakdown of classification of persons aged 15 years or more not in the Labour Force, Q4 2020 to Q4 2023