The seasonally-adjusted total on the Irish Live Register and in public activation jobs schemes was at 405,509 in the first month of 2016 according to the CSO today. The broad jobless rate was 18% compared with the narrow rate of 8.6% based on the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) definition of employment as paid work of at least one hour per week. France's broad rate is about 20% and the US rate in December was 9.9% compared with the ILO rate of 5%.


The net emigration of 147,000 by Irish nationals in 2009-2015 is equivalent to 6% of the workforce.

17% of Irish-born live overseas; 20% of Irish population foreign-born

The number on the Live Register was 323,200 in January and the end of December's total of unemployed in public activation programmes rose from 81,298 in November to 82,309.

The number of unemployed of 186,700 based on the ILO definition, fell in the 12 months to 31 January — down 30,500 in 12 months; the fall in the Live Register total was 36,870 and the number in activation schemes dipped by 6,055.

The number of long term claimants on the Live Register in January 2016 was 145,455. 54.8% (176,347) of all claimants on the Live Register were short term claimants. The comparable figure for January 2015 was 54.0% (193,828).

The broad rate is based on criteria used by the International Monetary Fund, Eurostat the EU's statistics office, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics while in recent years governments in Europe have been able to massage official data as individuals in public training schemes are counted as employed — in addition Finfacts classifies people in activation schemes as being unemployed in a broad sense.

For example, 58,000 of the 82,000 unemployed in Irish activation schemes are counted as employed and 24,000 are attending education courses that the ESRI views as generally useless ("No evidence of improved employment outcomes for Back To Education Allowance recipients.") See here.

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The broad rate includes part-time workers seeking full-time work, which was over 100,000 last September, the 82,000 in activation schemes and about 35,000 estimated by the CSO as the Potential Additional Labour Force: 18.4% (8.6% ILO rate + 9.8%).

Alternatively, the numbers on the Live Register + activation schemes as a ratio of the workforce is 18.4%.

Adding back net emigration by Irish nationals since 2009 gives a rate of over 24%.

People of working age in receipt of disability allowance, which amounted to 154,000 people in 2014 are not included in the broad rate.

Ireland, politics, full-employment

Labour and Fine Gael's dodgy full-employment targets

On Wednesday Fine Gael launched what it called a jobs plan and Labour launched another jobs plan Thursday but in effect Labour launched a press release and Fine Gael published a set of aspirations.

Finfacts highlighted at the end of December how Enda Kenny had used dodgy data in January 2015 to bring forward a full-employment target from 2020 to 2018 and then reverted to 2020 in December. We said that based on the latest Department of Finance forecasts from last October, the ILO unemployment rate would exceed 6% at the end of the term of the 32nd Dáil in 2021.

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We now have a bizarre situation where in the general election campaign Labour has a full-employment target of 2018 and Fine Gael has a target of 2020: Labour does not say what the unemployment rate would be in 2018 and 2020 — because while Germany has a full-employment rate of 4.5%, Burton who appears not to have checked the arithmetic, suggests that she accepts a high level of long-term unemployment with a 2018 rate in excess of 7% forecasted by Department of Finance economists.

Labour said that there were 250,000 jobs lost during the recession (based on Enda Kenny's dodgy data of January 2015); Fine Gael now say the number was over 300,000 — as Finfacts said in January 2015: Government explains how it understates recession job losses  

Burton says "our priority is a job for everyone who wants one by 2018."

Unemployment would fall slower than jobs added because of the growth of the labour force including possibly returning emigrants but Burton makes a promise that 150,000 jobs will be added with no need to provide any detail as she must have missed the news after Christmas that Kenny had abandoned the 2018 target which fiddled the result by ignoring official employment data.  

406,000 people in receipt of unemployment benefit in 2016 and Burton claims adding 150,000 jobs by 2018 will bring the Promised Land of full-employment?

Labour and Fine Gael want to see apprenticeships rise by an additional 50,0000 from 7,000 in 2016 but neither of them say if a levy on business similar to the UK will be introduced.

They have presided over the worst system in Western Europe and they now have a solution. Last September the OECD said that the skills of much of the workforce were low — see bottom of page here.

Fine Gael says based on a government document published on 18 January says 200,000 jobs will be added by 2020 and a full employment rate is 6% while Department of Finance economists forecast a rate of 6.4% in 2020 and 6.2% in 2021 but Fine Gael hopes that the rate will be 5.6% in that year. Neither rate level implies full employment.

In the 2007 general election Fianna Fáil had a target to add 250,000 jobs by 2012.

It's either economic illiteracy or dishonesty to argue that a jobs recovery from a deep recession is going to produce the same high level of jobs later in the recovery.

We reported last November that exporting jobs were down 30,000 since 2008. Where are the new jobs going to come from? Construction back at 260,000?

This claim from Fine Gael's economic plan is very misleading as in Sept 2015 (last date for sectoral employment data) exporting jobs were down 30,000 compared with mid-2008 as outlined above:

Between 2000 and 2007 only 1% of the new jobs created came from export orientated enterprises. That corresponding figure now is 45%, across a diverse range of sectors.

Image on top: Pixabay