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Labour Force Projections Results

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When the Expert Group’s assumptions regarding labour force participation rates are applied to the relevant population projection, the labour force is projected to increase under each of the scenarios.  Under M1 (which assumes net inward migration of 30,000 per annum from 2017 to 2031), the labour force is projected to increase by just over 500,000 (21.6%) by 2031 to 2,842,900 persons This represents an annual average increase of around 33,600 or an increase of 1.3% per annum in the labour force over the fifteen years, evenly divided between the male and female components.  See tables 3.1, 3.2 and fig 3.1.

The labour force is projected to increase by just under 400,000 (17.0%) to 2,736,400 persons by 2031 under the medium net inward migration scenario M2 (which assumes net inward migration of 20,000 per annum from 2017 to 2031) and by 290,100 (12.4%) persons under M3 (which assumes net inward migration of 10,000 per annum).  The M2 scenario results in an average annual increase of 1.1% in the labour force while under M3 the labour force is projected to increase by 0.8% annually.

Even though the labour force participation rates of married women are projected to maintain current levels throughout the period and the number of women in the labour force is projected to increase, the actual number of married women in the labour force is projected to fall.  This fall will range from 5,600 under M1 (from 498,700 in 2016 to 493,100 in 2031) to 38,900 under M3. This decrease is due to the projected continuing decline in marriage rates.  See table 3.1.

 

Show Table: Table 3.1 Actual and projected labour force classified by sex, 2006 - 2031

X-axis labelMaleFemale
20161271.31067.2
2021 (M1)1369.61137.6
2026 (M1)1463.21214.3
2031 (M1)1554.71288.2
2021 (M2)1350.81122.1
2026 (M2)1424.61182.7
2031 (M2)1495.91240.5
2021 (M3)1331.91106.6
2026 (M3)1385.41151.2
2031 (M3)1435.71193
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The projected average annual growth for 2016 to 2031 for all three scenarios is greater than that achieved during 2006 to 2016. This is due both to the fact that the period 2006 -2016 encompassed a period of economic downturn and recession and also because the gains experienced in recent years in labour force participation rates for both men and women is projected to continue, see table 3.2.

Show Table: Table 3.2 Actual and projected average annual growth rates of the labour force, 2006 - 2031

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For all three scenarios the demographic effect (the increase in the labour force due to the increased population in the relevant age groups) is much stronger than the participation rate effect (the increase in the labour force due to the increased propensity of those in the relevant age groups to be in the labour force), for both men and women.  The demographic change is projected to account for 80.8% (or 407,400 persons) of the growth in the M1 high migration scenario and 76.2% (or 303,100) in the M2 medium migration scenario to 2031. Increased labour force participation will have a more substantial impact in the M3 low migration scenario, accounting for 31.9% of the growth. The stronger effect of the demographic effect can also be seen across the genders with this effect accounting for 81.4% of the male increase in M1 versus 80% for females. See table 3.3 and fig 3.2.

Show Table: Table 3.3 Components of labour force change, 2016 - 2031

DemographicParticipation
M180.819.2
M276.223.8
M368.131.9
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The projected labour force is also expected to see a “squeeze” in the age distribution across all three scenarios. While the 15 - 29 and the 50 and over age groups accounted for just under half of the labour force in 2016, this rises to 56.9% under M1, 57.7% under M2 and to 58.5% in M3 in 2031. The rise in the youngest age group is largely due to entry into the labour force of those born between 2000 - 2010 and some element of net inward migration.  The increased participation of those aged 50 and over is primarily due to Irelands changing demographic structure.  Projected increased labour force participation rates for those aged 60 and over in line with increases to the retirement age have also been accounted for.  See tables 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 and fig 3.3.

50+40-4930-3915-29
20162623.62723.4
2021 (M1)27.324.523.524.7
2026 (M1)28.82421.326
2031 (M1)30.721.12226.2
2021 (M2)27.624.723.424.4
2026 (M2)29.324.120.825.7
2031 (M2)31.521.121.226.2
2021 (M3)27.924.823.224.1
2026 (M3)3024.320.325.5
2031 (M3)32.321.120.426.2
Show Table: Table 3.4 Actual and projected Labour Force classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2031 (M1)

Show Table: Table 3.5 Actual and projected Labour Force classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2031 (M2)

Show Table: Table 3.6 Actual and projected Labour Force classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2031 (M3)

While this report contains a number of summary tables, detailed results of the population projections from 2017 to 2051 are available on the CSO Statbank here.

Go to: Fertility Assumptions