Some grim figures

THE DECLINE in the number of people at work in the Irish economy in
the third quarter of the year was the biggest in two years, according
to the Central Statistics Office.

When adjusted for volatile seasonal factors, 1,794,000 people were
employed in the July-September period, a decline of more than 20,000
on the previous quarter.

The figures dash hopes that the shake out in the labour market has
come to an end. In the April-June period of 2011, the quarter on
quarter seasonally adjusted decline in employment was 4,100, the
smallest such fall since the recession began. Yesterday’s figures show
that the most recent quarterly decline was five times larger.

This brings the cumulative decline in employment since jobs numbers
peaked at the end of 2007 to 347,000. That amounts to a decline of
more than 16 per cent and is the largest such contraction in
employment among the 34 members of the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development.

The figures are contained in the CSO’s Quarterly National Household
Survey, which is the most comprehensive measure of employment and
unemployment in the economy.

Sectorally, the largest quarterly declines in employment in the
July-September period took place in the agriculture, food and fishing
industry, where 5,000 jobs were lost in just three months. In the
latest quarter 80,500 people were at work in the sector – a record low
and down 37,000 in just two and a half years.

The second largest loss of jobs took place in the “financial,
insurance and real estate” sector. Between the second and third
quarters seasonally adjusted employment in the sector fell by 4,600,
to stand at 98,100.