Some good news today from the QNHS report for Q4 2014 covering labour market conditions in the Irish economy. I will be detailing these throughout the day today, so stay tuned for more posts.
To start with, consider the labour force participation and unemployment rates - two key aggregate metrics for labour markets.
In Q4 2014, Labour Force Participation Rate in Ireland stood at 59.8%, down 0.3 percentage points from 60.1% in Q4 2013. By definition: The labour force participation rate is computed as an expression of the number of persons in the labour force as a percentage of the working age population. The labour force is the sum of the number of persons employed and of persons unemployed, but it excludes people in education and training, unless training is directly associated with employment. Currently, Labour Force Participation Rate is 125 basis points below the Q1 2000- Q4 2007 average of 61.23% and full 490 bps below the historical maximum. Which is not good news.
On seasonally-adjusted basis, Labour Force Participation Rate fell 0.1 percentage point quarter on quarter in Q4 2014 to 59.9%, matching the previous lowest point over the last 8 consecutive quarters.
Meanwhile, the official Unemployment Rate fell to 9.9 percent, the first sub-10 percent reading in 24 quarters. Which is great news. Year on year, unemployment rate is down from 11.7% in Q4 2013. Seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate, however, remained above 10 percent marker at 10.4%, but is down from 11.1% in Q3 2014.
In terms of unemployment rate, quarterly rate of decline registered in Q4 2014 stood at 0.7 percentage points, which is the strongest performance for any quarter since Q3 2013 when it posted a decline of 0.8 percentage points. Year on year decline in unemployment rate was 1.8 percentage points, slightly better than 1.7 percentage points decline in Q3 2014, but lower than 2.1 percentage points drop in Q2 2014.
All in, the news are good on unemployment statistics front, but poor on labour force participation side.
More analysis to follow.