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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Labour Force Survey (LFS) Employment Series

Quarter 1 2014 - Quarter 1 2020

IndicatorTotal EmploymentAnnual change
Q1 141,950,700 +58,700
Q1 152,014,400 +63,700
Q1 162,080,800 +66,500
Q1 172,158,400 +77,500
Q1 182,220,700 +62,400
Q1 192,301,900 +81,200
Q1 202,353,500 +51,500
COVID-19 Adjusted estimate of employment - end March 20202,070,371-

Employment reaches 2,353,500 persons in Q1 2020

Figure 1 Numbers in employment (ILO) in the first quarters 2014 to 2020
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This release presents detailed employment statistics for the period Q1 2014 to Q1 2020.

COVID19 and the Labour Force Survey

The effects of COVID-19 on the labour market are not fully reflected in the results from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) in Quarter 1 (Q1) 2020. This is partially due to the timing of COVID-19 implications which only caused the closure of some sectors for the last two weeks out of the 13 weeks in the quarter (i.e. schools, childcare and public houses) while the full list of the closures was announced on 27 March 2020. It is also partially due to the concepts and definitions that CSO are obliged to use for defining the official measures of employment and unemployment. For more information please see the Information Note on Implications of COVID-19 on the Labour Force Survey (LFS)

As part of the process for generating Q1 2020 estimates, the CSO produced a COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Employment. This estimate was created by subtracting the number who were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment at the end of March 2020 from the number of persons in employment during Q1 2020.  Please see the core LFS release for Q1 2020 for more information.

COVID-19 began to impact the Labour Market towards the end of Q1 2020

In the six-year period to Q1 2020, the number of persons in employment has increased by 402,800 or 20.6% to 2,353,500. The increase in full-time employment (+384,900) over this period accounted for virtually all (95.6%) of this increase. See Table 6.

However, COVID-19 began to impact the Labour Market towards the end of Q1 2020. At the end of March 2020, the COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Employment, or lower bound of the number of persons aged 15 years and over in employment, was estimated to have been 2,070,371. See Headline Table above.

Employment Status – sectoral groups

There were 2,009,200 persons classified as employees in Q1 2020 while there were 331,600 self-employed persons. Between Q1 2014 and Q1 2020, the number of employees increased by 393,700 or 24.4% while those classified as self-employed increased by 12,400 or 3.9%. See Table 4.

All economic sectors experienced an increase in the number of employees over this period. The largest percentage increases were in the Construction (+48,600 or +90.7%) and the Administrative and Support Services Activities (+30,600 or +46.9%) sectors. The number of self-employed persons, however, fell in five economic sectors with the largest percentage decreases occurring in the Industry sector (-15.7% or -3,300) and the Transportation and Storage sector (-11.4% or -2,400).  See Table 4.

Employment Status -  occupational groups

The number of employees increased in all nine occupational groups between Q1 2014 and Q1 2020. The Caring, leisure and other service and the Process, plant and machine operative occupational groups, which increased by 39.5% (51,000) and 33.4% (40,200) respectively, showed the largest increase in the number of employees over the period. The largest percentage increases in self-employment were in the Caring, leisure and other service and the Managers, directors and senior officials’ groups at 46.9% (5,300) and 11.9% (7,700) respectively. See Table 5.