Minister Donohoe welcomes CSO figures showing lowest unemployment rate since Q4 2005

21st May, 2019

  • Total employment in the first quarter of 2019 increased by 81,200 (+3.7 per cent) relative to the same period in 2018.
  • Full-time employment increased by 62,600 over the same period (+3.5 per cent).
  • Total employment (2,316,100 seasonally adjusted) has reached a new all-time high.
  • The unemployment rate of 4.6 per cent in April is the lowest since Q4 2005
  • Employment growth was recorded in all 8 regions.

Labour Force Survey (LFS) data published today (Tuesday) by the Central Statistics Office show a continued very strong labour market in Ireland.  Annual employment growth of 3.7 per cent (81,200 jobs) was recorded in the first quarter of 2019, meaning that there are now 2,316,100 people employed in Ireland, a record level.  The unemployment rate for April was 4.6 per cent, the lowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2005.

Welcoming the figures, the Minister for Finance and for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., said: ‘I welcome today’s figures which confirm the strength of Ireland’s labour market.  Despite the international challenges, the number of people at work in Ireland continues to rise, with total employment increasing by 81,200 over the year to the first quarter of 2019.  It is especially encouraging that three-quarters of the increase was in full-time employment.  There are now 2.3 million people at work in Ireland, a record high’.

“The growth of female employment – up 50,400 in annual terms – is also noteworthy, as is the fact that we have employment growth in all regions.  These figures are proof of the continued good health of our economy and of the success of this Government’s economic policies.

“Today’s figures confirm that the labour market is no longer in a recovery phase and that we are now zeroing in on ‘full-employment’, as evidenced by the fact that the unemployment rate of 4.6 per cent is the lowest since end-2005.

“Full-employment is a welcome outcome, but it also presents challenges for policy.  We must avoid policies that overheat the economy.  This means ensuring that the labour market remains open and flexible in order to support growth in jobs and living standards, while protecting our international competitiveness.  We must also encourage greater participation in the labour market by those currently outside.  Policies that foster improvements in productivity are being prioritised.  That is why the Government launched Future Jobs Ireland 2019 earlier this year; this establishes a broad suite of medium-term ambitions across the whole of Government and will serve to guide policy in support of a more productive, innovative, open and resilient economy.

“The forthcoming Summer Economic Statement will also set out the Government’s approach to budgetary policy with a focus on appropriate measures that raise living standards in a sustainable manner.”


Note to Editors:

  • There were annual increases in employment in all 8 regions and 12 of 14 sectors measured by the CSO.
  • The largest sectoral employment increases in the first quarter of 2019 (in annual terms) were in transport and storage (+11.4 per cent or 10,800) and administration and support services (+10.6 per cent or 10,500).
  • Long term unemployment fell by -9,300 in the year and now accounts for 1.7 per cent of the labour force.
  • The participation rate (defined as the number of persons in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the total population aged 15 or over) stood at 62 per cent in Q1 2019, below the pre-crisis peak figure of 66.6 per cent (annual average in 2007).