Labour Force Survey (LFS) data published by the Central Statistics Office show a record level of employment and continued recovery from the pandemic in Ireland’s labour market, with 224,800 jobs created in the year to Q4 2021. There was an increase in employment of 17,500 in the fourth quarter. Employment now stands at 2.48 million, an increase of almost 10 percent over Q4 2020.
The continuing rise in employment in Q4 2021 coincided with the introduction in December of additional public health measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, which impacted a number of important sectors for Ireland’s economy.
These sectors were provided with extra economic supports, while there was a limited reopening of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for impacted workers, to ensure that businesses were in a position to fully reopen and workers return to work once public health dangers had passed.
Commenting on the figures, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said, “these results show that employment increased by a remarkable 224,800 in 2021. We’re now very close to reaching our target of 2.5 million people at work we set out in the Economic Recovery Plan last year. Despite the imposition of restrictions on business at the end of last year, 17,500 jobs were still added in the final quarter.”
“It’s reassuring to see the Accommodation and Food Service sector recovering somewhat with an increase of 29.8% or 37,100. The hours worked per week this sector, while still below Q4 2019 levels, increased by 1.7 million hours per week (+70.8%) over the year to Q4 2021. But there is a long way to go.”
“All eight regions in Ireland registered employment growth, with the Mid-West (Tipperary, Clare, Limerick) experiencing the biggest increase at 13.4%. This is really significant given the government’s focus on balanced regional development. It’s also noteworthy that female participation in the labour market appears to have reached a new high. Employment participation remains higher but has yet to fully recover from the pandemic shock. These figures come on top of record exports -and IDA and EI jobs growth figures for 2021. The Irish economy and labour market are powering ahead.”
The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said, “the figures are further confirmation that the government’s policy response to the pandemic – effectively keeping workers attached to employment – has paved the way for a remarkable recovery in the labour market, and minimised ‘scarring’ effects for Irish workers.”
“Furthermore, a new record high in female participation indicates that a revolution in remote working has made our jobs market more accessible, creating greater opportunity for participation, now and in the future. As our economy continues to recover, there are emerging signs that labour shortages and mismatches are becoming a factor in certain sectors. As a government, we will continue to assist those still impacted by the pandemic in returning to employment, and driving a comprehensive and durable recovery.”