According to data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) Quarter 4 2021 from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), employment increased by 10.1% to 2,506,000 during the year to Q4 2021 while absences from work decreased by 14.7% to 252,100, which resulted in a 9.6%, or 6.8 million hour, increase in the number of hours worked per week.
According to a statement published on the CSO's website, the number of hours worked per week is up 6.8 million hours to 77.6 million hours per week in the year to Q4 2021, which is a slight increase from 77.5 million hours per week from pre-COVID-19 pandemic Q4 2019
At the end of December of 2021, the COVID-19 adjusted measure of employment is estimated to have been 2,439,099 with an associated COVID-19 adjusted employment rate of 70.9%, and by the end of January of 2022, the COVID-19 adjusted measure of employment is currently estimated to have been 2,430,587 with an associated COVID-19 adjusted employment rate of 70.7%, according to the CSO.
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The statement published on the CSO's website also said that there were 127,400 individuals classified as unemployed in Q4 2021 with an associated unemployment rate of 4.9% for those aged 15-74 years, and at the end of December 2021, the COVID-19 adjusted measure of unemployment is currently estimated to have been 195,313 with an associated COVID-19 adjusted unemployment rate of 7.4%.
Statement By Statistician
The statement published on the CSO's website included a statement from statistician Sam Scriven that said, "The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a considerable impact on the Irish labour market and that impact was first felt at the end of Quarter 1 (Q1) 2020. As the CSO is obliged to follow standard definitions and methodology when calculating the official estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), it has been decided to compile the Quarter 4 (Q4) 2021 LFS estimates in the usual way and provide separate COVID-19 adjusted estimates. This approach preserves the methodology of the LFS while at the same time providing transparency around the current impact of COVID-19 on the labour market within Ireland.
"Using the standard International Labour Organisation (ILO) criteria, the unadjusted number of persons aged 15-89 years in employment increased by 229,200 or 10.1% to 2,506,000 persons in the year to Q4 2021. Employment increased in most sectors with the largest increase in the accommodation & food service (+29.8% or +37,100) sector. The unadjusted employment rate for those aged 15-64 years was 73.0% in Q4 2021.
"Absences from work in the reference week (e.g., temporary layoffs from work, family leave and holidays) have had a significant effect on the number of hours worked in the economy. Absences from work in the reference week were down by 14.7% to 252,100 over the year. This, together with an increase of 10.1% in employment, resulted in an increase of 9.6% or 6.8 million more hours worked per week to 77.6 million in Q4 2021. The impact on hours worked varied across the different economic sectors. The number of hours worked per week were higher than a year ago in almost all sectors in Q4 2021 and were approaching Q4 2019 levels in most sectors. The hours worked per week in the accommodation & food services sector, while still below Q4 2019 levels, increased by 1.7 million hours per week (+70.8%) over the year to Q4 2021.
"When the effects of COVID-19 are considered, the COVID-19 adjusted measure of employment, or lower bound of the number of persons aged 15-89 years in employment, is estimated to have been 2,439,099 at the end of December 2021 with an associated COVID-19 adjusted employment rate of 70.9% for those aged 15-64 years. By the end of January 2022, these are estimated to have stood at 2,430,587 and 70.7% respectively.
"Using the standard ILO criteria, the unadjusted number of persons aged 15-74 years who were unemployed in Q4 2021 stood at 127,400 with an associated unemployment rate of 4.9%.
"As part of the monthly unemployment estimates release for January 2022, the CSO published COVID-19 adjusted unemployment volumes and rates for the end of December 2021 which corresponded to 195,313 persons and 7.4% respectively for persons aged 15-74 years. By the end of January 2022, they are estimated to have stood at 202,027 persons and 7.8% respectively.
"In Q4 2021, using the standard methodology, the total number of persons in the labour force was up 8.9% or 214,800 to 2,633,300 from Q4 2020. The number of persons not in the labour force was 1,411,800 and that was down 10.3% or 161,300 from a year earlier."
Speaking about the importance of sampled individuals taking part in the LFS, Scriven added, "Following public health guidelines regarding COVID-19, households randomly selected will receive introductory letters by post giving them an option to ring the interviewer or the interviewer may call to their house to ask them to take part. These surveys give us a picture of the economic and social situation of the citizens of Ireland, in a way, and with a level of accuracy, that no one else can gain. If you are asked to take part in a CSO survey, please do so. It means that when CSO figures are quoted you know they’re accurate, because you told us."
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